Unique 5K Races

Branch out of your normal running routine by dressing up, replenishing with beer, or getting a little muddy

5k, minneapolis, terrain racing
Photo by terrainRacing.com

It seems I can’t go a day during the summer without a photo appearing in my Instagram feed of a sweaty runner draped in a neon t-shirt and finisher’s medal. 5K races are growing in popularity and is a healthy activity for friends and family to get outside. But let’s be honest, 5Ks are so much better when you can take to the streets in costume, or when you know a beer is waiting for you at the finish line.

This season, the Twin Cities are offering even more exciting options that will make you want to roll out of bed early in the morning to run 3.1 miles. It’s time to branch out of your normal exercise routine and make running fun again.


The Chocolate 5K

WHEN: Saturday, June 11
WHERE: Como Park East Picnic Hill, N Lexington Pkwy and Nausbaumer Dr., St Paul
Running just got a little bit sweeter with this chocolate-themed race. Water stations will give out Ghirardelli chocolate if you can stomach it while running—but don’t worry, there will be more than enough at the end, too. Race proceeds support the Twin Cities Kids In Need Resource Center, which gives children school supplies necessary to succeed in the classroom. active.com

Chad Greenway’s Gridiron Gallop

WHEN: Sunday, June 19
WHERE: Lake Nokomis Main Beach, Minneapolis
Is your dad a football fan? This could be the best Father’s Day yet. Minnesota Vikings players and cheerleaders will be stationed around this 5K course to cheer on you and your dad. Plus, they’ll be available for autographs at the end of the race. Proceeds will go to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s youth athletic programs. andersonraces.com

Beer Run (part of the 2016 MN Brewery Running Series)

WHEN: Saturday, June 25
WHERE: Day Block Brewing Co., Minneapolis
Let’s begin by saying this is not a race. You won’t be timed. You won’t get a medal. But you’ll have a good time and receive a free beer from Day Block instead. I think we can cheers to that. If you can’t make it to Day Block, the Beer Run is a summer-long series through various Twin Cities breweries with proceeds benefiting Minnesota nonprofits. breweryrunningseries.com


Red, White, and Boom!

WHEN: Monday, July 4
WHERE: Father Hennepin Bluffs Park, Minneapolis
This annual 4th of July event includes one of the most popular 5Ks in Minneapolis, but also hosts a daylong after party with food, lawn games, a dunk tank, music, fireworks, and more. Dress in your best patriotic colors and Uncle Sam costume to show even more Independence Day spirit! tcmevents.org

The Color Run

WHEN: Sunday, July 10
WHERE: Minnesota State Fairgrounds
Dubbed “The Happiest 5K on the Planet,” you’ll begin the race clean and pristine, but end sweaty and colorful as paint is splattered and spewed on you throughout the course. It’s not timed, so you can slow down to appreciate the stream of rainbow-colored participants. Beware, the paint can be tough to wash off, but that ROYGBIV memento on your arm will surely evoke the happiest memories on the planet. thecolorrun.com

Wicked Wine Run

WHEN: Saturday, July 23
WHERE: St. Croix Vineyard, Stillwater
If you consider yourself a wino, this run is for you. Wine will be offered at the finish line in addition to an after-party with live music and food trucks. Or, go straight to the 1K Tasting Walk where you can take at your time at the four wine-sampling stops along the way. Costumes are encouraged. wickedwinerun.com

The Super Run

WHEN: Sunday, July 24
WHERE: Concordia University, St. Paul
Run—or fly—through St. Paul and user your superhero powers to raise money for various charities. Capes are provided (colors are first come, first serve) or BYO cape, tights, and tutu. There will be music, activities, and more at the finish. thesuperrun.com


Gopher to Badger 5K

WHEN: Saturday, August 13
WHERE: Stillwater to Hudson
Compete in the long-standing border battle between Minnesota and Wisconsin by running from one state to another. The race features friendly competition, of course—the winner will be determined by adding up the times of the first five finishers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other states. The group with the lowest time will be crowned the champion. To enhance team spirit, each participant gets a pair of maroon-and-gold or red-and-white striped socks. finalstretch.com

Terrain Race

WHEN: Saturday, August 13
WHERE: Buck Hill, Burnsville
Looking for a more intensive 5 or 10K? You can unleash your inner beast as you wade through mud pits, fling yourself over obstacles, and leave no part of your body dirt-free. It’s not as easy as a walk through the park, but it isn’t as intimidating as the infamous Tough Mudder. The kids can even participate by joining the “Little Monkey” race. terrainracing.com

The Glo Run

WHEN: Saturday, August 27
WHERE: 8500 Normandale Lake Blvd., Bloomington
You don’t have to wake up early for this race. Adorned with glow sticks and neon colors, the racers look like lightning bugs floating in the night. The ’80s-themed course will light up for 3.1 miles, a DJ will play music, and you’ll probably want to stop for selfies along the way. It’s up to you whether you’re timed or not, so have fun with the course! theglorun.com