The silliest (and most fun) 5ks you can run

Mary Kate Miller
November 15, 2017
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Running a 5k is a fun way to spend the weekend, get some exercise, and even support a good cause.

Whether it’s a 5k, one-mile run, or an obstacle course, getting out on race day can be a great way to show your spirit and stay fit.

With so many 5ks popping up all over the country, some have embraced wild and silly themes in order to stand out and get some attention. It’s all in good fun, and an unforgettable theme can add some laughs to the walking/running experience. So, we’ve put together a list of five of the silliest races across America.

The Color Run

The Color Run is the O.G. When it comes to silly runs. Subtitled “The Happiest Run on the Planet,” the Color Run is all about infusing joy into the 5k experience.

Every photo you’ll see of the Color Run is a kaleidoscope of colors, but runners don’t start off that way. They head to the starting line in white. They’re then doused in color at each kilometer. By the end, everyone is even more colorful than they are sweaty.

The Color Run was founded with the intention of making the day more about the experience and the memories than how fast you ran. That’s part of the reason it’s now the largest running series in the world.

Undie Run

Cupid’s Charity sponsors a one-mile run for a good cause that lets runners get down to their skivvies. Yes, with the undie run, you don’t have to worry about finding your favorite Lululemon running leggings. All you need are your running shoes, your favorite undergarments, and maybe some comically oversized sunglasses.

Proceeds from the Undie Run go towards research for Neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic condition that causes tumors to grow on the nervous system. Since 2010, Cupid’s Charity has raised $14.5 million. If you’re interested in doing good, dressed in nothing but your underoos, Cupid’s Charity has Undie Run dates scheduled in 2018 all across America. And great news, they’re all in February!

Costume Dash

This one is for the Halloween-loving runners. The Costume Dash, held this year in Boston and San Francisco, is held right before Halloween. Participants are invited to don their most outlandish costumes for “5 kilometers of fun,” as they describe it. The fun doesn’t stop there. After the race, you can enter a costume contest!

Krispy Kreme Challenge

The Krispy Kreme Challenge is a race for the bold, iron-stomached, and those just looking to attempt something ridiculous. The race consists of “2400 calories, 12 donuts, 5 miles, one hour.” Yes, you heard that right. During the race, runners consume 12 donuts.

With the Krispy Kreme Challenge, it’s not just about committing to the run, it’s testing exactly how many sugary donuts you can eat while completing the course. Because that’s not enough on its own, runners often opt to wear a costume for the race to make things that little bit harder.

The race is held in Raleigh, NC, and the money raised goes to support the UNC Children’s Hospital. So you can feel good about what you’re doing while you’re making your body feel bad. Plus, you can save money on breakfast afterward. There’s no way you’ll have an appetite.

Shopping Cart Race

This race is for the people who are interested in running a 5k but wish they had something silly to slow them down and make it harder.

The Chicago Urban Shopping Cart Race is based off an Alaskan dog sled race, but instead of using sleds, they use shopping carts. Instead of using dogs to pull the sled, teams of four runners pull the shopping cart, while one “musher” follows behind it. Of course, because runners love to dress up for a silly race, the Chicago Shopping Cart Race encourages each team to wear a costume.

Being part of a human dog sled race isn’t just for fun — though participants come back year after year because they have a blast. The Chicago Shopping Cart Race is an event to stop hunger in Chicago. So when participants start the race, it’s required that all shopping carts have been filled with food donations. Since its start in 2006, the race has collected more than 100,000 pounds of food and $100,000 in donations. I guess you could say they’re sleighing it.

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