14 Fun Run Theme Ideas For Your Next 5K
Thinking of putting on an event to support your favourite cause or are looking to expand your event management activities into a new niche? You've come to the right place!
We've looked far and wide, and we have collected for you a list of the best fun run themes and 5k run ideas for your next fun run project. We've got it all: superheros, zombies, donuts, bubbles and every possible combination in between.
So here's what's hot in fun run land - in no particular order.
1. Seasonal runs
Working with seasonal themes can be a great advantage for you, the race director, but it can also throw up some challenges. After all, there's only so many Halloween runs your local area can accommodate, so competing with a similarly themed run may be a problem.
If you are set on a seasonal theme, be creative and throw in a few spins and clever tag lines to make yours stand out.
2. Boozy runs
Beverages on the lighter end of the alcoholic spectrum, like beer, wine and cider, will probably be the best choice for your boozy run. And reaching out to your local breweries for sponsorship and support will be one of your key priorities, even before launching your race.
Note: make sure you fully understand your legal responsibilities (including permitting, health and safety etc) when it comes to offering alcohol in your event. This will vary depending on your jurisdiction and will not be very complicated in most cases, but still keep it in mind.
3. Savoury runs
Bacon, burgers, pizza, all of the things people run to be able to eat can make great centrepieces for your fun run. You can offer your treat of choice in aid stations, at the finish line or make consuming a certain amount (a burger a mile) part of the race.
Getting a sponsor for your food-based fun run should also be easy with plenty of suppliers eager to provide all the food supplies you'll need in exchange for brand placements and other promo opportunities.
4. Sweet runs
Not surprisingly, sweet-based fun runs have been a huge success with races like the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K breaking into the nation's list of most popular races.
Even you don't base your entire event around a sweet-based theme, a sweet treat in your race may help to boost your fun run's appeal, like Toronto Waterfront 10K's famous donut wall.
5. Zombie runs
If you decide to go with the chase, you'll need to sort participants into two groups: zombies and humans. Zombies chase humans, humans try to escape zombies. Unlike a real zombie apocalypse, everyone's a winner!
A bonus of the zombie chase format is that you can get more (and less athletic) people involved in the race as zombies. In fact, the slower your zombies, the more fun your run will be for your evading runners!
6. Mud & obstacle runs
However, this shouldn't put you off if you're thinking of going with an obstacle/mud theme for your 5K. If you decide to do it, there's plenty of race management companies who can help you set up your course and provide all the obstacles you'll need - or, even better, provide their own obstacle course for your use, all set up and ready to run.
7. Tower runs
What's more, stair-climbing events are actually very good choices for first-time race directors. Not only is your course contained and easy to manage (assuming there's an elevator available!), you can actually hope to get lots of people interested in your race because of the relative novelty of this type of event.
8. Inflatable runs
That said, again, the complexities shouldn't hold you back.If you really want to get bouncy just make sure you've got adequate insurance and keep a puncture repair kit handy at all times!
9. Color runs
You may wonder what's so appealing about being pelted with flour paint as you go around your 5K. But, fact is younger generations absolutely love it (not least because of the endless Instagram opportunities it offers)!
So if you're looking for a tried-and-tested theme that will get younger crowds signing up for your race, you can do worse that going with color. Just mind the trademarks and pick a name that doesn't impinge on someone else's.
Examples: The Color Run (the original)
10. Bubble runs
Like color runs, trademarks around major bubble run series are an area you'd want to navigate very cautiously when choosing your event name. So make sure you do your research and don't end up treading on anyone's toes.
Other than that, keep the bubble machines well stocked with soap and you're in for one majorly fun event!
11. Night runs
If you are choose to go with a night theme, you'll going to need glowy stuff and lots of it: bracelets, glow sticks, fluorescent face paint and T-shirts and anything that adds to the party atmosphere. A DJ would also come handy at the finish and as always, don't forget to mix things up, as Foam Glow Run decided to do, mixing up glow and bubbles in a single run!
12. Costume runs
What kind of costume should you go for? Well, anything goes, from superheroes to ballerinas. Just keep the theme consistent and carry the branding through from name to finisher T-shirt - consistency is the only thing your fun run should be serious about!
13. Scavenger hunt runs
Scavenger hunts work great with teams, where groups of 3-5 will run together "collecting clues" from a list provided by the organizers (evidenced by taking photos on a smartphone) in the shortest possible time.
And our wild card: Ploggas!
No, plogga is not a naughty word. Rather it's a Swedish portmanteau of "plocka" (to pick up) and "jogga" (to jog), as what's involved in plogga-ing is running around with others and collecting trash.
If you love the idea of an event with a positive impact and don't mind straying away from the traditional race model, then we would love you to take on the plogga for your fun event and send us some pics we can share on our race directors group.