Fun fall 5k races

insane inflatable 5k obstacle

The Insane Inflatable 5k also includes obstacles.

By Lauren Hittinger

Fall is a good time to lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement. But, if you're like me, motivation can be a bit of a barrier when Netflix is calling. Luckily there are a handful of local races with silly or fun themes to take the edge off.

After all, nothing says motivation to run quite like being chased by someone in a zombie costume.

If the undead aren't your thing, maybe another theme appeals to you. Here are a handful of upcoming 5k races that could be fun...

Insane Inflatable 5k | September 13 and 14
Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa
If you're too old to have a bouncy house at your birthday party, you can still have inflatable fun at this 5k. This race combines a road race with intermittent inflatable equipment. You can expect to climb obstacle course inflatables, go down a giant slide, dodge giant balls, and encounter a handful of other fun hurdles. The race is for ages 12 and up and isn't timed. Waves start in 15-minute increments to help with crowds, but it's getting quite booked up as of this writing.

Red Apple Trail Run | September 20
Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook
September is prime apple season, so how about a run through the orchard. The Red Apple Trail Run includes a 5k and 10k trail run through/around Samascott's different orchards and fields. The race is organized by the Kinderhook Runners Club.

Run in the Corn | October 18
Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke
Directionally challenged individuals will want to train extra hard for this event that is half road race and half corn maze. It is the first year of Run in the Corn, and they're expecting a small group of 200-300 people. The beginning race allows runners to get into a rhythm and spread out before entering the maze. The maze will be open so that you can take some wrong turns, but will be limited so you don't spend all afternoon wandering around lost.

rUNDEAD 5k | October 26
Saratoga Springs State Park
If completing a 5k isn't challenging enough, perhaps you'd also like to run for your life. For rUNDEAD each runner wears a flag-football-type belt with 3 flags attached. Then zombies chase after you to try to capture your flags. Jesse Wolfe completed this race last year and will be running again this October. He says the best part of rUNDEAD is "the energy brought from people playing as zombies. People seem to really enjoy getting into character. Some costumes were really well done and the organization had people on hand to complete some of the zombies looks with makeup." Participants can choose to partake in the race either as part of the timed competitive run, un-timed non-competitive run, or as a zombie.

Hairy Gorilla | October 26
Thacher State Park
The Hairy Gorilla is a Halloween-themed race -- people up dress up in all sorts of costumes and the trail is dotted with in Halloween decorations. Unlike other races in this list, the Hairy Gorilla is a trail half marathon. But it also includes a Squirrelly Six Mile race. Here's Jen's recap of running the Hairy Gorilla in 2013.

Color Me Rad 5k | October 5 - SOLD OUT
Color Vibe | TBD in Albany
If a color run is your thing, you might be out of luck this year. The Color Me Rad 5k in Saratoga Spa State Park is completely sold out, although they are accepting names for a waiting list. You might have a chance to get doused in colored powder at a Color Vibe race, although both the Albany and Vergennes, VT locations are listed as TBD. Last year I ran in a Color Vibe race, which ended up being a lot of fun. It was almost entirely a typical 5k race, although periodically you would come upon a color station where either you would get sprayed by canons or liberally drenched with dyed cornstarch by volunteers. The photos at the end were totally worth it, but just remember to bring a change of clothes and some wet wipes so you don't color your car interior.


Lauren writes about shopping, crafting, and living well on a small budget at The Thrifty Ginger.

photo courtesy of Insane Inflatable 5k


FWIW: Limited spots have been opened for the Color Me Rad 5k:

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