Can we all just admit that these kind of 5K races have jumped the shark?
|That shark is also running a Drenched 5K|
While I understand that these kind of theme events encourage a lot of non-runners to try a 5K, it still seems silly to me to have so many "races" that focus on everything BUT running. There are obstacle 5Ks that are more of photo opportunities for Facebook profile pictures and untimed 5Ks that culminate with colorful powder getting tossed on the runners, but there still seems to be room in the market for new, even stupider ways to run 3 miles.
I started thinking about kitschy races that I'd actually want to run, and I've come up with a few options:
I remember dodgeball days in elementary school PE: the dread of getting picked last for the teams and the strong desire to hide behind other classmates to avoid the sting of that rubber ball. Well, running a 5K is all about pain so it seems logical to combine it with dodgeball, right?
In my vision, the runners run the 5K for free and the spectators pay a "per ball" fee for the chance to nail a runner right in the face as they sprint by. It would be a perfect event for the whole family! Haven't you been frustrated by a road closure for some race or been behind someone with obnoxious race stickers on their car and just WISHED you could peg a rubber ball at a smug runner?
The bonus for the runners would be a real incentive to complete the race quickly. I do anticipate a lot of complaints about the course being long from runners taking evasive maneuvers from the dodgeballs, but I bet the adrenaline would still help them PR. Really, it's a win win for everyone.
Hunger Games 50K
So far, ultra marathons have avoided having "themes" like 5Ks, but I really think this could catch on. I'm envisioning a 50K combined with paintball (to avoid or reduce actual bloodshed). Ultra marathons are known for being a community of supportive runners, and everyone always encourages each other and will stop and help a runner in need. I say we ditch that for a race and pretend we're in the arena and chase each other around the woods with paintball guns for 31 miles. The winner would have to not only complete the distance but also be the last person not eliminated.
A fun addition would be not allowing anyone to carry fluids or fuel and keeping all supplies in a "Cornucopia" of sorts at a set location, to encourage more fighting and force people to try to live off the land. I know, you're already wondering where to sign up for this race.
I just can't decide if it would be more fun to have everyone fend for themselves or divide the field into two teams and watch the carnage ensue.
Distance Surprise Race
This event would be perfect for the sadistic Race Director: runners have NO idea how long the race will be and the finish line is a surprise!
I've done a race with a surprise finish line and think this could be a fun way to spice up mid distance racing. Ending a half marathon at 13.1 miles every time? Lame. I would love to see the racers' faces every time they reached a mile marker and still didn't see the finish line.
|OMG how will I pace myself??|
I would think the race shirts would have a blank spot for the distance and people could fill it in with a Sharpie later. This would be a really classy event.
There are so many other options for races out there, like the one where you have to run half the distance, then eat a dozen donuts and then run back or running through a graveyard at night in the fall. I'm pretty sure I could win an award at the donut eating race since I have a stomach of steel, but something feels really wrong about combining binge eating and fitness...but that could be just a hang up I have. I do know that I'd fail horribly at those races that involve drinking a beer every mile. I am such a lightweight that I'd probably be sitting on the curb by mile 2 just yelling obscenities at the passing motorists.
Would you run any of my races?
What's your idea for a theme race?