You may associate 5Ks with getting up way too early and digging out that activewear you use, well-- not as often as you should. No more. The growing popularity of themed runs such as The Color Run, Diva Dash, Superhero 5K, FroYo Run, and Insane Inflatables, are changing the face of fun runs. So if you love fun, but are indifferent about running, this weekend's 5K may actually be for you.
Each of these themed 5K races puts fun first and fitness second by offering plenty of distractions and attractions throughout the race course and planning elaborate pre and post race parties. The atmosphere at these events is electric and fast paced but you don’t necessarily need to bring your Nike’s to keep up.
The Color Run, coming to Des Moines on July 9th, for example, does not post race times. Its focus is on happiness, health, and individuality. That theme must be resonating with runners and fun runners alike because according to its website, The Color Run is now the single largest event series in the world, offering races in over 35 countries in 2015 and growing in 2016.
Normal races encourage a basic level of runners etiquette but at The Color Run, participants come armed with colored powder, bubble guns, and navigate a course filled with volunteers introducing a new color of ammo at each 1K checkpoint. Runners start the race shiny white and end looking like an art project gone awry. It’s all in good fun though and has marketed itself as the “5K Vacay” or “The Happiest 5K on Earth”.
The race is held at the State Capitol Grounds this weekend. Check-in starts at 8:00am and all registered participants receive a t-shirt, headband, tattoos, and race bib. Medals and additional color packs for the after party are handed out at the finish line.
Pre-race festivities start at 9:00 am with waves going every few minutes and the skipping, dancing, and smiling continues throughout the brightly colored race course, ending with the finish festival at the brand new Rainbow Beach. Fair warning that there is actual sand at this beach, so if you are bringing kids, be prepared to hose them down when you get home.
This year’s charity partner for the Iowa race is Variety - The Children’s Charity of Iowa. Founded in 1975, Variety has raised more than $100 million for underprivileged, at-risk, and special needs children in Iowa. Each Color Run event also contributes to cancer research and encourages race participants to share their stories about using this event as a platform to find hope, health, and happiness in the fight against cancer. The Color Run is partnered with The Huntsman Cancer Foundation and the Sigma Chi International Fraternity to be the generation to end cancer.
You can still sign up for the race online. The cost per participant is $39.99 with $5 off coupons available if you sign up for their emails. Children and strollers are allowed to run the race with a paying adult participant. Pets are not.