The 5k event is run (or walked, or even danced) over 5 kilometres (or 3.1 miles). Whilst it is the shortest of most running distance events, it is an achievable goal for many, especially for those who are looking to improve their general fitness or try something new.
Many different 5k events take place all over the world, and whilst some are more competitive and timed, others place a focus on improving general fitness, raising money for charity and simply to be enjoyed. What’s even greater about 5k events is that everyone can get involved, encouraging more people to get outside and become active. There’s certainly a 5k event out there for everyone…
Parkrun organise free, weekly, timed 5k runs around the world (most are based in the UK) and encourage people of all abilities to take part. Pakrrun events are for everyone, from those who are new to running to those with more experience, you can even bring kids along too.
The Colour Run is more than just a standard 5k run, it is even known as ‘the happiest 5k on the planet’ and there are events worldwide. The Colour Run is an untimed 5k event in which participants are covered head to toe in different coloured powder at each kilometre. But the fun doesn’t stop there… after reaching the finish line there is a Colour Festival where even more coloured powder is used. Over 60% of colour runners are first-time 5k runners and it really encourages everyone to get involved, where children aged 5 and under go free!
Zombie Evacuation Race is a 5k event in the UK and it is not for the faint hearted! Participants can register to be racers or zombies, where racers have to run for their lives while zombies try to infect them. The racers who finish the 5k (with obstacles!) with at least 1 of 3 velcro LifeTags still on them are classified as survivors, whilst those who lose their tags are classified as infected. This unique 5k is sure to get your heart rate up! There are similar runs worldwide such as The Zombie Run in the US.
The Electric Run is an untimed 5k event at night where participants dress in coloured, neon or glowing attire and move through a number of immersive lands of lights and sound, so participants can literally dance their way to the finish! At the finish line the lights and sounds step up a notch for a celebration including a DJ set and light show. The event is open to all and children under 7 can enter for free, so even pram pushing is encouraged!
If none of the above take your fancy there are many other 5k runs worldwide, including women only runs, extreme and obstacle events such as xrunner and WAR and charity runs such as Race for Life and the 5k Mo Run (supporting movember).
Other fun and wacky 5k events include the Disney Family 5k Fun Run (in Florida), Santa Runs (in Christmas fancy dress, with many similar events worldwide), the 5k Foam Fest (currently in the US, Canada, Australia & Mexico), Beat the Banana (literally chasing a giant banana to the finish line in London) and the not so advised Beat the Barrel (running a 5k race carrying a barrel of beer, where the first team to finish with an empty barrel wins!)
Hopefully I’ve given an insight into many 5k events worldwide that many people may not have heard of before in the hope that it may have encouraged someone to consider taking part in a 5k event (or even to get friends and family involved too) as a way to become more active and have fun in the process. Any activity is great for improving health and wellbeing and although a 5k event is not a lifestyle change, it can be a great way to start.
A 5k event gives everyone an excuse to get outside and get moving, all whilst providing a fun and enjoyable experience at the same time. There really is a 5k for everyone, from someone who has never run before to the more experienced runner. The world has certainly taken to the 5k run and I think we will start to see many more fun runs with a difference taking place in the future!
Adie Blanchard – Researcher