Maybe you’ve lost 50 pounds. Maybe you’re just proud that you’ve stayed committed to your new diet or fitness routine. Whatever your weight loss accomplishment, you want to find a way to celebrate that won’t undo all of your hard work.
Our suggestion? Participate in a 5k.
We know—running over three miles may not sound as exciting as a celebratory cake or a night out on the town. However, race organizers have started adding thematic elements, like glow-in-the-dark powder, inflatable obstacles, and Elvis Presley costumes, to make participants eager to exercise. You will keep up with your weight loss routine and have fun doing it.
Check out these 10 races happening in or around Chicago this year.
Hot Chocolate 5k
It isn’t called “America’s Sweetest Race” for nothing. The Hot Chocolate 5k inspires people to get out and run even in the chilly fall. Why? The race ends with a party that includes chocolate fondue, hot chocolate, and games for the kids. You will also receive a snuggly zip-up hoodie to keep you comfortable during the race.
Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k
Already incorporate music into your fitness routine? Take it to another level with this run. Local bands perform live along the course, and once you’ve rocked your way to the end, you can join the Finish Line Festival (where Cold War Kids performed last year). This year, the sponsors have added the Remix Challenge: you’ll receive an additional medal if you complete a 5k and a half marathon the following day.
Elvis Is Alive 5k
This non-competitive run is a perfect tribute to the King. Your registration comes with a pair of Elvis glasses and sideburns to start your costume. After the run, enjoy a concert from Joe Tirrito and his Elvis Presley tribute band.
The Color Run
Known as the “Happiest 5k on the Planet,” the Color Run has grown from its beginnings in 2011 to hold more than 300 events in over 50 countries. The traditional race asks participants to wear white and then run as volunteers throw colored powder at them. This year, the Shine Tour hits Chicago. You will enjoy new shine elements and complete the race covered in color, confetti, and glitter.
Consider this the Color Run at night. You will receive a commemorative white T-shirt and glow-in-the-dark tattoo prior to the run. You’ll add to that ensemble during the race when volunteers throw UV neon glow powder at you. Then participants, now glowing with splotches of color, gather at the after party for music, memories, and more LED swag.
Dirty Girl Mud Run
Ladies, here’s an adventure race especially for you. At this event, you and 250 other women will get down and dirty to complete a 5k obstacle course. No one keeps track of your time, so you can run, climb, and crawl through each obstacle (like the “Get Over Yourself” wall) at your own pace. Cross the finish line to receive an exclusive medal and charm. Make sure you come prepared with a towel, a change of clothes, and the appropriate shoes so you are comfortable during the race and on your way home.
Great Pumpkin Run/Monster Dash
No matter how committed you are to your diet, you know you’re going to sneak some candy around Halloween. Work it off with one of many themed runs for the holiday. The Great Pumpkin Run takes you through a corn maze while you hold onto a small pumpkin (if you’re brave, you can upgrade to a “tough pumpkin”). After the finish, you can enjoy a cup of apple cider and activities at the Fall Festival.
The Monster Dash, which takes place on Halloween each year, encourages runners to wear their costumes as they run to and from Grant Park. Trick or treat at the water stops, and stick around after the race for a costume contest.
If simply running a 5k isn’t enough of a challenge for you, sign up for the Wipeout Run. It combines all the fun and obstacles from the hit show—minus the embarrassment of seeing your falls on national TV. In between stretches of running, you will have to overcome the Sweeper, Foam of Fury, the Big Balls, and other inflatable challenges.
Biggest Loser RunWalk
Another TV show turned 5k, the RunWalk takes the Biggest Loser philosophy to cities around the United States. Fans of the show will love seeing former contestants like Dan and Jackie Evans. Unlike other races mentioned, you can track your time and try to hit your personal goal. The top runners and walkers in each age group will receive prizes; every participant leaves with a medal, a T-shirt, a drawstring backpack, and downloadable photos from the event.
Make exercise fun! Sign up for one of the races above (or search for dozens of others that take place in Chicago). Then talk to a professional at your weight loss clinic and start training for your 5k.