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Fitness and philanthropy: Upcoming 5Ks, 10Ks and half-marathons

09/06/2013 3:11 PM

09/12/2013 11:30 AM

As if exercise, charity and a free T-shirt weren’t incentive enough, run coordinators have added a whole new dimension of 5K-marathon-triathlon motivation: fun.

From encouraging participants to wear wild costumes, to spraying them with paint and having them trounce through mud, “fun runs” have gone crazy with themes and gimmicks — all in the name of fitness.

Tim Scrivner, president of Jailbreak Runs — a muddy race in which participants pretend they’re on the lam from police — says his company was inspired by some advice from a friend: “People won’t train to be healthy, but they’ll train for an event.”

He has found this to be true, he says, as evidenced by the countless testimonies he’s heard from first-time 5K “Jailbreakers.”

“Before the event, they weren’t thinking about running; they were excited about dressing up, doing the obstacles and having a good time,” Scrivner said.

When it’s over, they’re proud of what they accomplished and surprised by how much fun they had exercising, he said.

Glenn Decker and Charles Murphey, both Fort Worth residents, raced in their first 5K when they competed with friends in a local zombie-themed mud run in April.

While both run for exercise, neither had done any competitive event before.

“The zombie element made it more enticing,” said Murphey, who has since signed up to compete in a half marathon.

Murphey says that the fun atmosphere made it feel less like a boring run, as did the unique obstacle course and the fact that he was running from zombies attempting to steal his “life” — a flag.

“There’s a lot of wading through mud and obstacles,” he said. “Things that take you out of your comfort zone.”

Decker said he enjoyed the camaraderie the race offered.

“A big part of it was doing it with friends,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get together and to take on a challenge together. It’s a really cool experience.”

Katie Langston, a spokesperson for Viral Events, which hosts Run or Dye (in which runners get showered in powdered dye along the course) and the Bad Prom Run (race in an old prom dress!), says she has found that the themed runs attract people who are finally getting off the couch and are looking for an opportunity — or an excuse — to get in shape for the first time.

“It gives people the motivation to do something they didn’t think they could do, and then it gives them the confidence to maybe try it again,” she says.

The races typically encourage entrants of all skill sets, from marathon veterans to first-time runners. Many support charitable causes. And most have Facebook pages so potential participants can spread the word and form teams.

Here’s a closer look at some of the zaniest, most colorful, muddiest mad dashes coming up in the area. Before you go, be sure to check the race websites for complete rules, packet pickup locations, discounts, deadlines and other useful information.

For information on more local runs and walks (both for serious athletes and weekend warriors), visit www.dfwraces.com, www.lukeslocker.com, www.runontexas.com/races or www.fwrunco.com.

Neon Splash Dash

While most runs take place in the morning, this one takes place at night (gates open at 5:30 p.m.; race starts at 8 p.m.). Get ready to glow in the dark as you make your way through five kilometers of Glow Zones, where you’ll get doused with signature “glow water.” You’ll light up as you cross the finish line and head to a big “after-glow party.”

When: Sept. 21

Benefits: Mended Hearts Inc., which supports patients, families and caregivers of those with heart disease and heart defects.

Athletic level: Racers may run, walk or dance to the finish line (no pets allowed).

Dress: Participants must wear a solid white, decorated team short or the participant T-shirt provided at the race.

Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington

Cost: $55 (Team sign-ups receive a $5 discount per member; four members minimum per team.) It’s $60 on race day.

Registration and information: www.neonsplashdash.com

The Jailbreak DFW

Pretend you’re running from the law at the Jailbreak, an adventure run that covers 3.1 miles and 20 muddy obstacles for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. By race’s end, you’ll be muddy and ready to kick back with barbecue and a beer, and listen to the slate of bands scheduled.

When: Sept. 28

Benefits: Orange Out Foundation, which supports families experiencing childhood cancer.

Athletic level: Jailbreak contestants don’t have to be highly skilled athletes and can choose to go around any obstacle on the course. No swimming is involved. Participants must be age 14 and older.

Dress: Sneakers and clothes you don’t mind getting muddy.

Where: DFW Adventure Park, 13055 Cleveland Gibbs Road, Roanoke

Cost: $60

Registration and information: By Sept. 25 at midnight, www.runthejailbreak.com.

Graffiti Run

This 5K is not for the color averse. You show up in all white, but by the time you’ve made it through the green, red, orange, pink and purple graffiti stations, you’ll be looking rainbow chic.

When: Sept. 29

Benefits: A local charity to be determined

Athletic level: The Graffiti Run welcomes all levels of competitors, from those who crawl to those who sprint.

Dress: The more white the runners wear, the more colorful they’ll be by the finish line.

Where: LaGrave Field, 301 N.E. Sixth St., Fort Worth

Cost: $55 (Team sign-ups receive a $5 discount per member)

Registration and information: www.thegraffitirun.com

Zombie Run

Run for your life at the Bio Hazard Zombie Run. You’ll start the race with three flags, or “lives,” that “infected zombies” along the course will attempt to steal from you as you weave in and out of obstacles along the way.

When: Oct. 20

Benefits: No charitable cause; for fun and fitness only.

Athletic level: All fitness levels are welcome to run from the living dead.

Dress: Runners can wear whatever they please, even costumes — preferably something that’s easy to run in. The zombies, most definitely, are in costume, including full makeup.

Where: Cobb Park, 2600 Cobb Drive, Fort Worth

Cost: $40, age 16 and younger must have a parent or guardian in attendance, 17-year-olds must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

Registration and information: www.dfwzombierun.com

The Original Mud Run

Come clean and leave dirty. The Original Mud Run guarantees a messy good time with its crazy obstacle course, complete with a rope swing, tire mountain, log walk and other surprise challenges. Run for fun or for glory. There are two courses, a 5K with 18 obstacles, and a 10K with more than 30 obstacles.

When: Oct. 26

Benefits: Local charities to be determined

Athletic level: The course is tough, but fun-run racers can take their time and are free to skip obstacles.

Dress: Racers in the competitive division must wear boots that cover the ankle and loose-fitting pants, cargo pants or sweat pants. Fun-run racers can wear anything they don’t mind getting dirty.

Where: 1000 Bear Creek Road, Lancaster

Cost: $75, $30 for the kids’ run (ages 3-12). Competitors must age 12 or older. Racers under 18 must have an adult pick up their packet and sign a waiver.

Registration and information: www.theoriginalmudrun.com

Fort Worth Monster Dash 10K, 5K or Half Marathon

Runners stand out at the Monster Dash in their silly Halloween costumes. You’re sure to see superheroes of all capes alongside monsters, goblins and princesses.

When: Oct. 27

Benefits: Team Ortho Foundation, which promotes physical fitness and raises money for orthopedic research.

Athletic level: Participants can walk and push strollers in the 5K.

Dress: Costumes are not only welcomed, they’re encouraged. Just make sure you can run in them.

Where: LaGrave Field, 301 N.E. Sixth St., Fort Worth

Cost: $24.99-$55

Registration and information: www.dfwmonster.org

Bad Prom 5K

Raid the thrift store — or your closet — and run your way through a maze of terribly cliché prom themes, from Under the Sea to Fairytale Romance. By the end, you’re sure to have perfected an impressive run-dance blend.

When: Nov. 1

Benefits: Local charity to be determined

Athletic level: No athletic ability is required — if participants can dance, they’re in.

Dress: Runners can wear whatever they please, but prom attire — the tackier, the better — is encouraged.

Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington

Cost: $40-$65, depending on when you register ($5 discount for teams)

Registration and information: www.badprom.com

Run or Dye

Billed as the world’s most colorful 5K, the Run or Dye 5K brings a shower of paint for every kilometer completed. There’s no avoiding the color crew.

When: Dec. 14

Benefits: Charity to be determined

Athletic level: Racers of all ages and skill levels are invited to be color-bombed.

Dress: All-white clothing is encouraged, from running shorts and tank tops to wedding dresses.

Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, 1000 Ballpark Way, Arlington

Cost: $35-$55, depending on when you register ($5 discount for teams)

Registration and information: www.runordye.com

The Blacklight Run

You’re sure to shine, no matter your speed, at the Blacklight Run, where participants’ clean white shirts are transformed by neon powder that lights up the night in the blacklight zones and at the after-party.

When: Feb. 1, 2014

Benefits: Local charity to be determined

Athletic level: Athletes of all ilk are encouraged to “get glowed.”

Dress: Runners must wear a white T-shirt that they don’t mind ruining, though most of the glow should wash out.

Where: LaGrave Field, 301 N.E. Sixth St., Fort Worth

Cost: $60

Registration and information: www.blacklightrun.com

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