5 unusual runs to sign up for this summer

With the last vestiges of winter still clinging to the Twin Cities, it may be hard to imagine running outdoors. However, now is the time to sign up for summertime runs. There are a mind-boggling number of 5Ks and fun runs that happen during the warmer months each year, often during major festivals or just at the crack of dawn on a weekend.

We've taken a look at some of the planned events happening this summer, and found a few novelty runs sure to be a blast. Some of are for folks who love visual spectacle, others are for foodies and beer lovers, and then there's the one with an element of danger. Which one is up your alley?

The Great Bull Run

(Elk River Extreme Motor Park, May 19)

You read that right. This summer, you won't have to travel to Spain if you want to run with the bulls. This year, the bulls are coming to Elk River for a day guaranteed to be filled with plenty of fleeing from animals. The daylong happening isn't just about running with and from bulls, though. Folks who sign on for the Great Bull Run will also be signed up for the Tomato Royale, an epic food fight where people throw ripe tomatoes (that would have otherwise have gone to waste). The event also offers a festival after party, with beer, food, and live music. Does all of this sound terrifying, but entertaining? They also have spectator passes for those who would prefer to just watch while enjoying a beer. 18+. $50-$75; $10 spectator pass. More info at

Electric Run Twin Cities


(Minnesota State Fairgrounds, June 6)

The is possibly the most beautiful run of the season. The Electric Run is part rave, part 5K. Here, runners will make their way through a handful of worlds filled with neon trees flashing in sync to music, glowing lakes, laser tunnels, and illuminated buildings. You won't need to bring an iPod, as runners will encounter DJs spinning tunes in each section. You'll be part of the wild setting, as participants are bestowed with things like LED bracelets and glowing necklaces to wear if they'd like. Along the way, there will be plenty of opportunities to dance, and the after party offers more music, spectacle, and beer (for those of age, of course) at the end. Unlike a rave, this event is all ages, so bring the kids if you think they'd enjoy it. $49-$69. More info at Proceeds benefit Special Olympics Minnesota.

The Color Run

(Minnesota State Fairgrounds, July 13)

Another pretty run, also at the Fairgrounds, the Color Run invites participants to run a 5K through bursts of powdered colors on the ROYGBIV spectrum. Imagine a mashup between exercise and finger painting. By the end, you are living watercolor painting. $40-$55. Visit to sign up and for more info. Proceeds benefit various charities, including men's and women's cancer organizations.


Bacon Race

(Lake Nokomis, July 19)

Meanwhile, Bacon Race is probably the tastiest race you can partake in this summer. During this run, folks will be bestowed with a bacon-scented bib, and will be able to snack on unlimited bacon bits during the run. Does this sound like a recipe for barfing? Event goers can opt out of the 5K for the more digestion-friendly .05K course. The after-run offerings are pretty awesome, too, as people will be invited to snack on all-you-can eat bacon while enjoying a free Bloody Mary. $20-$70. More info at Proceeds benefit St. Jude's Research Hospital.

Minnesota Brewery Running Series

(Various locations, ongoing)

If you're looking for a more low-key run experience, the Minnesota Brewery Running Series might be just up your alley. Each year, event organizers put together a series of summertime runs where folks can sprint, jog, or walk through a neighborhood course, with a local brewery or bar serving free beer at the finish line. Previous runs have featured Pracna on Main, Northgate Brewery, Dangerous Man Brewery, and Fulton. The event's full schedule will be announced this Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the 2014 MN Brewery Running Series Kick-Off Party at the Running Room (1433 West Lake St., Minneapolis), where potential runners will be invited to sample brews, meet local brewers, and sign up for events. For more info, check out the series' Facebook page. Proceeds from the event benefit local non-profits.