10 themed 5K races you have to add to your bucket list

We’ve covered mud runs, obstacle course races, glowing nightime 5Ks, scary zombie runs, superhero dashes, tower races, firefighter-themed challenges and bizarre races from around the world. Yet, human kind continues to develop zany ways in which to run from point A to point B. We love it. We say, whatever it takes to get people excited about exercise, outdoors and community, go for it.

Here is a roundup of themed 5Ks that you must add to your bucket list. Some are healthier than others. All guarantee that you will have something interesting to talk about around the water cooler Monday morning.


These food-themed runs will have you salivating to the finish line … or barfing at a checkpoint!

The Hot Chocolate 15/5K

Theme: “America’s Sweetest Race”

Details: How far will you run for chocolate? Choose betweeen the 15K or 5K run through the streets of Chicago. The payoff? The post-race party features mugs filled with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and tasty dippable treats.

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Theme: 2,400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour

Details: Are you up for this challenge? Begin at the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. Travel 2.5 miles through historic downtown Raleigh, to a Krispy Kreme location where you consume one dozen glazed doughnuts. You’re not finished yet! Run 2.5 miles back to the Memorial Belltower with a belly full of doughnuts!

The New York Hot Dog Challenge

Theme: Hot dogs!

Details: Brought to you by the fabulous New York Rogue Runners, this run is between 3 and 5 miles where you’ll devour nine to 11 dirty water dogs in NYC. Every year, the course is revealed the night before the race.

The NYC Pizza Run

Theme: Stuff your face with pizza

Details: Complete a 2.25-mile run in New York City’s Tompkins Square Park while stopping to eat three slices of pizza at checkpoints throughout the course. Benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International and you get one free beer at the afterparty. You must stop to eat a slice of pizza before they can continue with the next lap.


If you’d rather not gourge on food and are tired of all those beer runs, check out the following events to get your motor running:

Wine Country Runs

Check out this view!

Theme: Run through a vineyard in Paso Robles, Calif.

Details: Enjoy running the picturesque country roads along wineries and vineyards of the Paso Robles wine country. This race has something for everyone: a half-marathon run or walk, a 5K and a kids’ half-mile “grape stomp.” Start and finish at the beautiful River Oaks Hot Springs.

Wicked Wine Run

Theme: Wine!

Details: Start the race at the Lost Oak Winery & Vineyard in Burleson, Texas, and make your way through the vineyards.  Choose between the 5K Wine Run with celebratory wine at the finish or the 1K Tasting Walk with four wine-tasting stops along the route. Or do both. Bring a blanket and relax post-race with a glass of wine while listening to live music. Costumes are encouraged!


It may make beating your PR a little more challenging, but running in a costume, tutu, clown suit or nothing at all can be hella fun!

Bad Prom Run

Theme: Relive prom hell

Details: During this 5K, you’ll encounter four different tacky prom themes: Under the Sea, Titanic, Fairytale Romance and an Evening in Paris. The course is lit up, there’s a bunch of photo ops along the way, and a dance party awaits you at the finish line.

Mustache Dache

Theme: Rock a stache

Details: Men, women and children are all encouraged to wear their mustaches proudly. If that means drawing one on, then so be it. Supports Movember, the men’s health charity that aims to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges.

Cupid’s Undie Run

Theme: Strip down to your skivvies

Details: All in the name of charity, runners streak 1 mile in their underwear to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.


Caliente Bare Dare 5K

Theme: Run buck naked through a nudist resort in sunny Florida

Details: Run 3.2 miles through a nudist resort — with or without clothing — as you pass trails and lakes. Cross the finish line at the foot of the Caliente Resort clubhouse. A post-race celebration takes place alongside the resort’s massive lagoon pool. Just be prepared for a lot of naked people. The race will determine the National Championship of Nude Running.