How Running Got Its Groove Back

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Cue the foam, beer, paint, costumes, and zombies. Non-traditional running events — everything from The Color Run to Mudderella — have seen a 40-fold increase in the amount of finishers since 2009. And, for the first time, the number of people doing these races has surpassed the amount running marathons (or halfs), according to Running USA.

Part of what makes these events so attractive is that they are more like running "experiences" rather than a basic race. There's a themed course for everyone — from the person who has never dreamed of doing a 5K to the brawny athlete looking for bragging rights.

They’ve also transformed the typically solo sport, making it a heck of a lot more social. A survey from ACTIVE.com found that spending time with friends was one of the top reasons people were motivated to sign up. (Plus, the events lead to some pretty amazing daytime and nighttime race selfies.)

Of course, like most things in life, just because everyone else is doing fun-running doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you. Nor does the trend mean traditional road races are on on their way out (there were still 2.5 million people who finished marathons in 2013). But, this growing sector of events just goes to show that fitness can and should be inclusive. All for run and run for all!