Six upcoming races with fun twists

From donuts to glow sticks, a single mile to 10 miles, these local races will make you (actually) want to run this fall.

Glo Run — Sept. 29

Photo courtesy of Glo Run

If a color run is too messy for you, head to Cedar Rapids, don some leis and glow bracelets and run through a neon wonderland.

Following the Cedar River, the Glo Run 5K leads runners through a new “GLOzone” at every kilometer, some not entirely self-explanatory: a Giant Pineapple zone, Black Lights Luau zone, Dancing Luau Giants zone, Arches of Luau zone and, finally, a finish-line festival featuring a live DJ.

Awards will be given to the top three finishers in each of 12 age groups, and participants can choose at registration whether they want to run a timed race (for an extra $7) to earn a medal and extra swag, or merely a fun run.

This selfie-friendly 5K benefits the American Heart Association.

Distance: 5K
Difficulty: Low
Register by: 12 p.m. on Sept. 28
Cost: $60

Kickoff to Kinnick 5k Run/Walk — Sept. 30

Runners hit the course at the 2016 Kickoff to Kinnick 5K. — photo courtesy of University of Iowa Dance Marathon

Starting in 2014, Kickoff to Kinnick is the first race to finish on the field of Kinnick Stadium, and won’t be the last. Still, there’s probably not a race as Iowa Citian as this: it begins near Carver Hawkeye Arena and finishes at Kinnick, circling the UI baseball and softball fields and Finkbine golf course; a handful of former UI athletes join the runners; Millstream beer and snacks are served at the finish line; and all proceeds benefit Dance Marathon.

At the finish line, each participant receives a medal worthy of a professional wrestler’s belt buckle. They are also entitled to a photo inside the stadium and post-race food, drinks and live music.

Distance: 5K
Difficulty: Low
Register by: Sept. 28 (online), Sept. 30 (in-person)
Fee: $45 for adults, $30 for UI students and participants 18 and under

Timber Trek 4.8-mile Adventure Run — Sept. 30

You won’t want to wear your new white Nikes to the Timber Trek. The 4.8-mile cross-country run loops through the wilderness around the Amana Colonies RV Park — where the race starts and ends — leading runners through creeks, over hay bales and logs and down a steep gully by way of ropes. “Prepare to get dirty,” the organizers warn.

About a mile and a half longer than a 5K and a lot more like a boot camp drill, Timber Trek is for adventurous runners. A post-race party befitting these Ron Swanson types will follow the race, including Amana bratwurst, local beer and polka tunes.

Distance: 4.8 miles
Difficulty: High
Register by: Sept. 29
Fee: $35

Ely Fall Fest 5k Moonlight Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run — Oct. 13

A nighttime run on Friday the 13th? How family friendly!

The Moonlight 5k and one-mile run are the exclamation point at the end of the annual Ely Fall Fest. The event begins at 7 p.m. at Ely City Park, but not before runners are adorned in glow bracelets and necklaces. A celebration with music, food and beverages will follow (pre-registered runners are entitled to drink tickets).

One need not be an athlete to participate in this easy-going run, but the highly superstitious may want to stay away.

Distance: 1 mile/5K
Difficulty: Low
Register by: Oct. 12
Fee: 5K – $25, 1-Mile – $15

Hurts Donut Run — Oct. 14

The first-ever Hurts Donut Run kicked off in Hurts’ hometown of Springfield, Missouri. — Photo courtesy of Off Track Events

What’s better than running? Everything? Well, certainly donuts.

The inaugural Hurts Donut Run improves upon the average 5K by sprinkling in their signature pastries and coffee. Our area’s Hurts Donuts is located in Coralville, but the Donut Run will traverse Iowa City’s City Park, beginning at 10 a.m. All ages and abilities are welcome and greeted with a donut and other refreshments at the finish line. Costumes are encouraged, and the best duds will be given awards.

The run benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and your taste buds.

Distance: 5K
Difficulty: Low
Register by: Oct. 14
Fee: $35 adults, $25 youth

The Indian Summer Distance Classic — Oct. 14

Lake MacBride State Park — photo by Dawn Frary

Most local races are just for fun. The Indian Summer Distance Classic is an exception. The four- and 10-mile courses lead competitors down a forgiving limestone trail — with short stretches of asphalt — and a not-so-forgiving hill that runners will ascend to the finish.

Enjoy Lake MacBride State Park’s gorgeous natural sites while smashing records and earning a new trophy for your mantle. If you don’t score a top time, you may still win a door prize during the awards party.

Distance: Four or 10 miles
Difficulty: Medium-high
Register by: Oct. 14 (or Oct. 12 for early bird prices)
Fee: $35, $40 on race day

Turkey Trot — Nov. 23

Photo courtesy of Cedar Rapids Turkey Trot

Cedar Rapids’ Turkey Trot is a beloved tradition, and one of the last community runs of the season. It’s not unusual to see dozens of friends and neighbors dressed as turkeys while they run the five kilometers, and all are welcome to the traditional finish line cinnamon rolls.

A new course this year places the event in Plaza Park, with runners starting and finishing outside the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum and crossing the Cedar River four times.

If they’d like, participants may be timed via a chip timer in their bibs at no extra cost, but all must finish between 9 and 10:20 a.m. (kids get a 15-minute head start). The Turkey Trot benefits the American Heart Association.

Distance: 5K
Difficulty: Low-Medium
Register by: Nov. 22
Fee: $50

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