Don't be fooled by the beautiful plants and flowers. The botanic gardens have come under siege by hordes of zombies, and scientists require help to contain the virus. To reach safety, participants in the Dead Garden Run: Zombie Apocalypse must run, walk, or crawl through a maze of foliage. Runners can compete individually or in teams, working together to choose the right path at every juncture. The zombies, meanwhile, could be anywhere, ready to snag each runner's flags.
Those why dare can dive back into the melee at any time, celebrating their success at an afterparty with music, food, and various activities to entertain zombies and humans alike. Here, a beer garden serves craft brews, a DJ spins tunes, and a kids-only area entertains the wee ones. And their bravery does not go unrewarded, as proceeds from the event benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the South Coast Botanic Garden and the American Red Cross.
Run or Dye is making race running a little more colorful, one major city at a time. This 5K is divided up into four separate courses of varying lengths, each designated by a separate color––which also reflects the color of safe, eco-friendly powered dye the participants get splashed with. At the end of the race, they'll cross into the aptly-named Dye Zone—a polychromatic free-for-all, where fluorescent color is thrown freely from all sides, allowing runners to splash their fellow runners or get colorful revenge on their friends, family members, and any cranky art-history teachers that happen to be walking by.
Unlike some races that rank runners by time, Run or Dye only measures success in color and fun. While the safe-to-eat dyes should wash out of clothing, runners are encouraged to wear things they don't mind getting dirty, preferably in white, gray, or another neutral color to give the dyes maximum visibility.
Festivities, live music, and prizes intertwine with fulfilling 5K trots at events organized by Active Runs. For more than 20 years, Active Runs has set out to create events that appeal not only to avid runners but to casual participants interested in trying their first run. Although the courses themselves would be reason enough to participate, the organizers also collaborate with race directors to create themed runs, such as Green Sneakers and Day of the Dead, that feature face painting, foot venders, and art festivals?as well as T-shirts and drinks for guests. And since the money raised benefits charities, runners have an even worthier reason to strap on their shoes and don their most aerodynamic running sombrero. Crossing the finish line first isn't the only way to win, though. Competitions for traditional costumes, biggest teams, and most creative team name also keep things interesting, doling out prizes to winners of each category.
Odd things are happening on the 3-mile stretch of woods outside of town. People venture off for a day of outdoorsy fun and never return. Thankfully, Escape The Nightmare is assembling able-bodied search parties, whose members scour the woods while avoiding the traps and obstacles that befell their predecessors. As they run through the paths, they must dodge grim creatures while also surmounting both man-made and natural obstacles.
As the heats of runners cross the starting line beginning in the early evening, they are equipped with headlamps to help them weave through the course and solve the the spooky backstory. Clues to the mysteries––including why people are "disappearing" and why is that man carrying around a stuffed rabbit––unfold as runners get closer to the finish line. But only by keeping your flags securely attached to your belt can you say you solved the mystery without becoming one of the lost.
Like a city street after every nearby car wash has malfunctioned, The Bubble Run welcomes participants to play in light, glistening foam. Runners, walkers, jumpers, and skippers cruise their way through five easygoing, untimed kilometers, each marked with a 6-foot-deep bog brimming with colorful foam and floating bubbles. Bubbleteers armed with foam-slinging cannons ensure that each adventurer receives a healthy dose of bubbles as they pass, running safely thanks to the dry makeup of the foam solution used. Racers clad in white may start clean as a whistle, but by the time they cross the finish line, they’re dyed like a rainbow, finally readying them to sneak up on a leprechaun. Then the fun keeps going—live DJs and bubble cannons amp up afterparties to celebrate runners' efforts. Proceeds from each race benefit local charities.
The Color Vibe Los Angeles 5K Run starts out like any other race, but by the end, participants look more like pieces of abstract art than runners. As they race along the streets of Los Angeles, runners are streaked with nontoxic powdered paints that cover clothing and skin in a wash of bright yellows, pinks, and blues. All the while, professional photographers snap candid shots of the colorful, untimed race; the photographs are available for free to all participants so they may share them with whomever runs their household's printing press.
This year’s race will take place on Saturday, October 20, at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. The first wave of runners hits the road at 9 a.m., and subsequent groups leave the starting line every 10 minutes after that.