10 Fun Runs To Add To Your Calendar In 2017

Running sometimes gets a bad rap as a grueling activity exclusively for super intense athletes. But like any form of exercise, it can actually be a way to have fun, socialize, and improve your all-around wellbeing.

If you don't get that from your standard jog or marathon, you just might get it from one of the interactive, colorful, and silly themed runs happening around the country this year.

Signing up for a run can give you something to look forward to, encourage you to get outside, and let you bond with others attending the same event. And if you decide to train for it, it can help you start off your year with a goal to work toward. The good thing about these events, though, is that you can be as intense or lax about them as you want.

And if you can't get enthused about running at all, of course, don't force yourself. Find a form of exercise that truly is enjoyable for you, like one of these playground-inspired outdoor activities or these gym-free workouts.

But if you do want to give a run a try, here are a few you can check out this year.

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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Color Fun Fest
Multiple dates and locations

This country-wide 5k is as much a carnival as a run, with an inflatable village and colorful powder poured over contestants as they dash through "color stations." The proceeds go to Just Care More, which brings exercise programs to inner city youth.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Hip Hop Run
Multiple dates and locations

Live musical performances provide the backdrop to this 10k run and 5k run/walk in Houston, San Diego, Chicago, and Oakland. Afterward, a health and wellness fair will introduce runners to local vendors. If you're not in one of these cities and want to participate, the organizers will send you everything you need to hold a run on your own.
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Multiple dates and locations

When you arrive at this "zombie run," a makeup artist will turn you into a zombie. Then, you spend the course trying to steal flags from other brain-eaters. After the run and award ceremony, all the zombies let loose and dance at a "recovery party."
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Mud Factor
Multiple dates and locations

People slip down slides, jump over tires, climb walls, and crawl through tunnels to complete this 5k obstacle course held all year throughout the country.
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
The Warrior Dash
Multiple dates and locations

You can sign up for this 5k/obstacle course in 24 different states already. Runners will hop over fires, wade through lakes, and get covered in mud before letting loose at a post-race party, all while raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
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Photographed by Sam Nodelman.
St. Patrick's Day Road Race
March 19, Boston, MA

Before the St. Patrick's Day Parade, you can celebrate the holiday by running through the Irish neighborhood of South Boston. The funds from the 5k will go to the South Boston Boys & Girls Club.
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Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k
April 1, Richmond, VA

This annual event will motivate even the most reluctant runners. On the sidelines, spectators hold pep rallies and tons of live bands play. The party continues afterwards at Monroe Park. The proceeds go to Kids Run RVA and the VCU Massey Cancer Center.
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Photographed by Aaron Richter.
The Race Against Extinction World Wide Earth Day Challenge
April 22, anywhere

On Earth Day, anyone can take part in this event to benefit the World Wildlife Fund. It includes activities named after animals for people of all different levels, from tortoises to cheetahs. Most major cities have organized something, but you can also get your own group together or complete the challenge on your own as a "lone wolf."
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Photographed by Ben Ritter.
Bay to Breakers
May 21, San Francisco, CA

Bay to Breakers is more than a run — it's a city-wide festival. People in animal costumes fill the bars and the streets as runners journey from the San Francisco Bay to Ocean Beach. The tradition is over a century old and embodies San Francisco's best quirks.
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Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
The Monster Dash
October 28, St. Paul, MN

Celebrate Halloween by running in your costume. Once you've finished the half-marathon, 10-mile, or 5k, there'll be trick-or-treating, a beer garden, and a costume contest at the end.