A blog by runners. For runners.

From zombies to beer, fun runs bring races to a new demographic


You’re running a 5K. Your pace is good. You feel strong. And then …

A zombie jumps out in front of you and tries to eat your brain.

No, you’re not dreaming, and no, this isn’t a horror film. It’s all part of a growing trend of races focused on making racing fun and attainable for all. Races where zombies try and steal your health flags, colored powder is thrown at your white shirt, “running for beer” is literal, and everyone is carrying a glow stick. PRs aren’t discussed. Pace is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is having a good time.

“[Fun runs] appeal to a much larger audience and take the intimidation factor out of running,” said Carrie L Snyder, an organizer of The Zombie Run series.

And while they may seem silly, these fun runs are making a positive impact on the running world.

“A lot of people who might never have run a race are now getting out there and accomplishing some amazing things,” Carrie said. “I love seeing the first-time racers and really enjoy people telling us that, whether it’s zombies, color, or beer, it got them off the couch.”

Zombies aren’t Carrie’s only speciality. She, along with friend and fellow race organizer, Kathryn Ross, also came up with the idea of a race that ends with a party at the “Oldest Brewery in America” — Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, Penn.

“We wanted to organize a race that we would want to run,” Kathryn said.

The inaugural Lager Jogger sold out and took place April 13 on a relatively challenging 5K course. Not that the hilly streets fazed participants.

“I had a lot of people tell me that our race was their first race and now they are hooked on running races,” Kathryn said. “Who knows — these people might end up becoming the Boston Marathon qualifiers some day!”

And these fun runs do more than just challenge people for one day. They help create a lifetime of healthy habits.

“I had one gentleman come up to me at packet pick-up the day before the race to ask if he could change his T-shirt size to one that was smaller: he had lost 35 pounds since he had signed up for [the Lager Jogger] and starting training,” Kathryn said. “To be a part of instilling a positive change in an individual’s life is really meaningful to me as a race organizer.”

These runs aren’t just for beginners, either. Experienced and serious runners can also benefit from an occasional fun run.

“It is important to change up the routine and train for something different,” Kathryn said. “Doing so can give rebirth to your passion for running and bring you to meeting a different group of runners you would have never otherwise met.”

Fun run series:

For list of obstacle races in the UK, check out Muddy Race.

In addition to these series, there are also tons of one-off races, like the Lager Jogger, across the country. Search for runs in your area here.

Have you ever run a fun or themed run? What did you think?