A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Tuesdays on the Run: Novelty Runs

on October 6, 2015

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is novelty runs, which is funny timing because my husband asked me just last night about whether or not I was doing an Ugly Sweater run this year (based on this Raw Threads shirt I picked up for the Jingle Jungle 5K). I doubt I’ll be doing the Ugly Sweater this year, barring some kind of Groupon or Living Social deal, but novelty runs can certainly be a lot of fun. There are loads of options, from glow in the dark runs, to color runs of various flavors, to themed costume runs and even some with bubbles and bounce houses! I confess, those last ones are the most tempting for me. I’ve done a color run (here) and an Ugly Sweater run (here) and both were a good time, for sure. Some would also consider the Disney runs as novelty races, given the on course entertainment and large number of costumes, but I think those are a bit more serious than the average novelty run, given the number of serious runners, the actually measured courses and the prizes for speed rather than creativity.

Novelty runs are a great way to get out and get active. For many people, it may be the first thing that gets them to start walking or running. I love the idea of anything that gets people to see physical activity as something FUN.

I saw lots of tinsel skirts and scarves.

I saw lots of tinsel skirts and scarves at my Ugly Sweater run last year.

However, I generally steer people clear of them if they’re new runners and want to run a race where they get to see what they can actually do in terms of time. The novelty runs I’ve done have been estimates of distances, rather than real measurement, which can be frustrating if you want to know your actual 5K time. Also, because so many people are out having a good time, you may have to wander around a lot of people playing. That’s never a bad thing – that’s a big part of the point of novelty runs after all – but it can be frustrating if you want to see how you can really run.

Color Me Rad 2013

Color Me Rad 2013

The other concerns I have with novelty runs are related to cost. They can be really expensive! I won’t be doing any more unless I get some kind of coupon or I have a bunch of friends (or an Oliver) who really want to go. It just isn’t worth the entry fee a lot of times. The other concern I have regards getting my money back if things don’t go off smoothly. Novelty runs have been in the news a lot over the last couple of years as they’ve increased in popularity. A lot of people have bought into them, only to have them cancelled at the last minute. All in all, I’ll stick with my local running club events for the most part since they’re reliable, support good local causes and frequently are costumed even if there aren’t giant blow up candy canes.


Would I ever do a novelty run again? Sure, especially once Oliver gets old enough to come along (and if I can get a Groupon!) but I doubt I’ll seek them out as a solo enterprise – other than RunDisney of course.

Have you done a novelty run? What kind? Would you recommend it?

Thanks as always to April, Patty and Erika for hosting the Tuesdays on the Run link up! Be sure to go check out everyone else’s posts. I’m curious to see what kinds of runs people have done. 🙂


8 responses to “Tuesdays on the Run: Novelty Runs

  1. I did an Ugly Sweater Run a few years ago and it was pretty fun, but I am not chomping at the bit to do another novelty run. I get the heebie jeebies looking at things like the Color Run and the Foam Run races, they look insanely crowded and I don’t like random crap being thrown on me. Also is it just me, or are races in general getting more expensive? It’s not just the novelty ones!

    • My one color run was like that – very crowded and chaotic. Not my favorite, for sure. Races are getting so expensive! I just saw a post about a local 5K for $10 that was a fund raiser for a local cross country team. I sort of want to go run it just to support someone with a reasonable price. 🙂

  2. Nope, never did one, not terribly interested. But I like that it’s an option for people that might be interested.

  3. Meg B says:

    I signed up for a Superhero 5K but had to back out because of sick kids. The course wasn’t even officially marked, there was no finish line, the course wasn’t closed, people were running on the sidewalks, it was a cluster. I’m glad I missed it and won’t be signing up for another one any time soon!

  4. Anna says:

    I do love a theme, but definitely don’t want things thrown at me. We did a Dash and Splash last year that had bubbles – I didn’t like not being able to see my feet 🙂 I wanted to do a SuperHero 5K in September, but had a wedding that day – putting it on my calendar for next year. Hopefully, it won’t be like Meg describes above – it is on a bike path, so hopefully that will keep it contained.

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