Every year, thousands of women nationwide hit the ground running to fight breast cancer. Breast cancer 5Ks are a great way to have fun, challenge yourself and burn some cals—all while giving back to a noble cause. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve scoped out six truly unique, quirky and fun 5Ks across the nation that are doing their part to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. Whether you’re a football fanatic, canine lover or wine connoisseur, these six unique breast cancer 5Ks offer something for everyone.
Best For: Walkers
Women’s 5K Classic – Allentown, Penn.
Since first launching 20 years ago as a small, 250-participant race in Allentown, Penn., the Women’s 5K Classic has grown to include more than 5,000 runners in 2012—and this year they’re expecting even more. This female-exclusive event is broken down into four heats, making it ideal for women of all fitness levels. The event kicks off with a 5K and a 10K run. Not much of a pavement pounder? The event also includes two heats of walkers, including a heat for “Competitive Walkers” (or speed walkers), and a “Walk in the Park” group for less competitive participants.
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Best For: Football Fanatics
Treasure Chests 5K – Tampa, Fla.
This race, part of the NFL-wide Breast Cancer Awareness Month initiative, benefits breast cancer research and also includes plenty of football fun. The race begins just south of the stadium on Tampa Bay Boulevard and takes runners down past the Yankees Complex and up around Steinbrenner Field before crossing the finish line into the stadium. The cost of registration includes a ticket to the game to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the Philadelphia Eagles. Make sure to get your ticket early: The first 500 registered runners get the opportunity to go onto the field during halftime. What better way to raise awareness and get fired up for a cause than with a 3.1-mile run in the morning, followed by a few cold ones and 65,000 of your closest football friends?
Best For: Artists
Paint it Pink! – Portsmouth, Ohio
Participating in a 5K is always lots of fun, but Paint it Pink! is way more than your average 3.1 mile race. The race in Portsmouth, Ohio is much more than just a 5K. Participants in this weekend-long event are encouraged to sport their Paint it Pink! shirt the day before the race on Friday, October 18, while painting and decorating their workplaces, schools or homes—all in pink. Then, on Saturday morning at 8 a.m., the almost entirely flat racecourse winds runners and walkers from the Southern Ohio Medical Center’s LIFE Center through this tree-lined and newly pink-clad residential area—but the fun doesn’t stop there. Following the race, Paint it Pink! holds a Pink Party, a Zumbathon and a Ceremonial Pink March on Saturday at Tracy Park. The weekend concludes with a “Pink Out” for the Shawnee State University soccer match at 4 p.m. on Monday.
Best For: Dog Owners
Paws FUR Pink 5K – Orange, Calif.
Although runners have to wait until February 15 to participate in this Breast Cancer run, we think it’s worth the wait. Whereas other 5Ks generally exclude our furry friends, the Paws FUR Pink happily invites pets to the race, and includes them in all the festivities! Of course, don’t let the February time-stamp scare you away; this race takes place in sunny, Southern California, ensuring that runners won’t have to don a fur coat like their pups in order to stay warm. The timed 5K starts at 8 in the morning, the untimed race starts at 8:45 a.m., and three other fun races follow suit for the less experienced runners and older furry friends. Benefitting Susan G. Komen of Orange County, this race celebrates the unconditional love that we share with our four-legged friends.
Best For: Mud Lovers
Dirty Girl Mud Run – Various locations Nationwide
With 45 event locations across the nation and a course designed for all ages and athletic abilities, it would be crazy for any mud run-lover to skip out on this female-filled event. Participants run, walk, crawl, climb and get really, really dirty—all in the name of educating women about breast cancer prevention and awareness. Talk about girl power! Runners are sent out in waves every 15 minutes, ensuring the course won’t get too overcrowded and dangerous, so form a team and tackle the obstacles together. Best of all, when it’s all said and done and you’re covered in mud, the fun doesn’t stop: Head down to the sponsor village to keep your heart rate up while you dance to the music; nourish your weary body with some much-deserved local food and drink; or pick up a few samples from Paul Mitchell and other vendors.
Best For: Winos
Duplin Winery Run for Hope – Rose Hill, NC
What more could a woman want on a crisp October morning than a nice run through the beautiful North Carolina Duplin vineyards? Drinking plenty of wine after the race is over, that’s what. The Duplin Winery Run for Hope combines two female favorites—exercise and wine—and rolls them into one breast-cancer-fighting festivity. The proceeds of the race benefit the non-profit organization, Women of Hope, which helps provide financial support, education and advocacy for women living with breast cancer. Following the race, plenty of food, live music, and wine, wine, wine will be available for a fun-filled family event.