By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
Running is great for fitness, but who says it has to be “all business?” Maybe you’re a serious marathoner focused on getting your next personal record or winning an elite race. If so, this post is not for you! But if you’re looking for some just-for-fun races, you’re in luck! The Northern Virginia area and the metropolitan Washington, DC, region are home to many non-competitive, lighthearted, unique runs that feature fun for the whole family. These fun runs and races in the NOVA and DC area are open to adults and children and feature interesting courses or wacky themes. Whether you’re into ice cream, bubbles, mud, or even zombies, check out these fun runs coming up (please visit the official websites for updates, age restrictions, information about fees, and registration details):
Unique fun runs in 2017
Saturday, April 29: Color Vibe 5K
At this colorful event at RFK Stadium, you’ll get blasted with color at certain spots while you run. Event organizers say OU are the color canvas, and when you’re finished with us you’ll be an exciting and vivid masterpiece. Kids age 12 and under are free with a paid adult.
Saturday, May 6: The Ice Cream Race
The Ice Cream Race 5k is an all-ages fun run at Bull Run Regional Park with some truly creative twists. Participants run through Whipped Cream-like Foam, zoom down a Chocolate Syrup Water Slide, and trudge through a Banana Peel Pit! While they do this, participants are chased by their favorite toppings throughout the wild obstacle course. After the race there is ice cream, music, food trucks, ice cream eating competitions, and wild costume competitions.
Saturday, August 12: Double Bubble Run
The City of Fairfax hosts this 1K Fun Run in Van Dyck Park for kids and adults of all ages. Participants will make their way through the race course filled with bubbles, color stations, foam obstacles, and even more bubbles. There are two sessions available; fees apply.
Saturday, September 9: Great Inflatable Race
Jealous of the kids who get to go on all those huge inflatables? Now you can join in! The Great Inflatable Race is a fun run with inflatable obstacles spread throughout the running course. You and your friends will feel like kids again as you jump, dive and bounce on custom-designed inflatables. This bouncy course contains between 8 and 10 massive inflatables that will bounce, bump and slide you all over the place! You’ll finish the race with a perfect photo op on a final inflatable, and after a nice refreshing drink, you can check out the Inflatable Village, with additional, just-for-fun attractions.
Saturday, October 21: The Blacklight Run DC
Oxon Hill, MD
The DC-area event for The Blacklight Run takes place at Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill in southern Maryland. The Blacklight Run is the “brightest 5K on the planet” and the original and largest ultraviolet run. The evening event features glow-in-the-dark fun for people of all ages and skill levels on a three-mile course. Participants receive a commemorative race shirt, a Blacklight Run Glow Pack, race bib with number, donation to charity, and admission to the after party with a “glow throw” every 15 minutes. (Note: this race also takes place in Richmond, VA, on June 25, 2016.)
Worth the Drive
The following events are about one hour from the metropolitan DC area.
Saturday, October 21: Insane Inflatable 5K
This crazy-fun course looks awesome: participants run through huge inflatables that include slides, mazes, and more (see all the obstacles here). Kids are welcome: all participants at least 42 inches tall; there is no minimum age to participate. Once you’ve crossed the finish line, the fun continues with the Insane Inflatable 5K Midway and Post Race Celebration that also includes entertainment and food and beverages.
Not yet announced
The following events from 2016 have not yet been announced for 2017
TBD: Foam Glow 5K
The Foam Glow 5K is a bright and wacky event: runners are exposed to glowing foam, with lots of backlights all over the pace to reflect the bright neon colors. It’s a family event with lots of fun, foam, music and memories. Little Glowers, 5 and under, can run with an adult free of charge and do not need to register.
TBD: Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge
The Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge (ROC Race) is the original game show-inspired obstacle run featuring larger-than-life obstacles including the infamous Wrecking Ball, the menacing Sweeper, the hilariously challenging Jump Balls, and the Hippo, a towering four-story-tall waterslide! If you’re a fan of shows such as Wipeout, this is the race for you! The ROC Race at RFK Stadium is an untimed event open to everyone of all athletic abilities, ages 13 and up.
TBD: Blood and Guts Run
This Halloween tradition is no ordinary 5k. Here, you run through various obstacles where you dodge, jump, climb, and crawl your way through wild obstacles as you avoid hordes of zombies. After the race, enjoy a live DJ dance party and festival with food trucks, a beer garden, costume competitions, and more. Participants must be at least five years old; no strollers are allowed.
TBD: The Glo Run
The Glo Run returns, and this time it’s the 1980s edition. With colorful lights, neon lights, black lights, and illuminated structures, this evening run at RFK Stadium brightens the night. This is an all-ages event, but strollers are discouraged, as the course is at times dark, loud, and with flashing lights.