On Saturday, July 14, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the classic board game Clue springs to life throughout the city of Denver during the Mile High Murder Mystery Race. Dozens of teams, each with two–six people, race around the city to sleuth out the who, why, where, and when of the dastardly deed—and, of course, recover the weapon, be it candlestick, pistol, or expired jar of mayonnaise. Teams uncover clues that lead them to each destination. In scavenger-hunt style, they find items along the way that ultimately help them solve the whole whodunit.
The day starts at 8 a.m. at Stoney's Bar and Grill, where racers can revel as they await the start of the race, comparing team names such as "Mystery Machine" and "CSI Vegas" or slipping on the final elements of their costumes. Teams must be there by 10 a.m. for registration and race announcements, and the caper officially begins at 11 a.m. After the race, hardworking detectives will be duly rewarded—there are cash prizes of $300, $150, and $75 for first, second, and third places, respectively, as well as awards in categories such as best team name, best tweet of the day, and best costume.
Though the race gives participants the chance to play hero for the day, 10% of the proceeds will fund the actually heroic mission of Cops Fighting Cancer: to support Colorado cancer patients and their families both financially and emotionally.
As night falls, participants in the noncompetitive Rave Run pull on neon T-shirts, don glow-in-the dark glasses, and stuff their pockets with glow sticks. Spectators look on as the throng of illuminated runners, which includes kids and adults, make their way through a 5-kilometer course that winds through city streets.
The event culminates with an after party, where a DJ spin tunes and powerful lasers cast out beams that illuminate wide smiles and the secret locations of any lost arks in the vicinity. Fog machines and CO2 jets help create a high-adrenaline atmosphere as attendees dance with their glow-in-the-dark compatriots. All the fun is for a good cause; The Rave Run partners with a local charity in each participating city.
The Firefly Run combines the rigor of a 5K and a 10K race with the kaleidoscopic colors of a light show. LED beams and lasers pierce the dark, leading racers decked out in light-festooned gear through nighttime streets and parks to raise money for charity. Race coordinators keep competitors bright by encouraging them to wear costumes fitted with glow sticks, cartoonish helmets, light-up armbands, or any other light-themed decoration. Beyond the finish line, runners and audiences alike celebrate at a postrace dance party with live entertainment, visual effects, and a costume contest that rewards unique outfits and the athlete who was able to ward off the most gremlins.
The creators of the The Colorful 5K – Graffiti Run use the term “run” very loosely. Less of a race, and more a celebration of the human spirit, The Colorful 5K – Graffiti Run encourages participants to dash, dance, prance, skip, cartwheel, or walk the course as they douse each other in vibrant hues that span the full spectrum. Each run also donates a portion of proceeds to a local charity, which range from Special Olympics affiliates and scholarship funds to city cleanup and beautification projects.
When participants at The Retro Run 5K take their marks, they're more likely to be taken for Cyndi Lauper than a marathon runner. That's because the 3-mile run eschews the put-ons of most modern races: there are no times collected, and those with the best '60s, '70s, or '80s costumes are the ones destined to win the big prize—in the post-race costume competition, anyway. Neon spandex, fanny packs, and fingerless gloves are a hot choice among racers, but even if you're just there in a T-shirt and shorts, the staff will hook you up with a free pair of sunglasses to help you look the part. After the race, runners, walkers, and even pets celebrate with an '80s-themed festival complete with top party music, a costume contest, and pyramid teams reenacting the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Color Me Rad stages 5K races that transform runners into mobile rainbows by launching cheerful barrages of colored cornstarch. Each color station along the racetrack flings a new, nontoxic pigment at passersby, who wear white shirts to enhance the chromatic onslaught's costuming effects. Brilliant neon-blue, green, purple, and yellow clouds dapple participants along the way, and the race concludes with a prismatic finish-line finale as sprinters chuck colors at each other in celebration. The race's noncompetitive credo shifts the emphasis from speed to silliness, and a portion of its proceeds go to local charities.
Upon registration, each runner collects a Color Me Rad T-shirt, sunglasses, sponsor gifts, and a race bib. Though they don't receive a gift packet, runners younger than 8 years old can sprint for free, provided they have a waiver signed by a guardian and won't give in to demands for gold from confused leprechauns.