5K runs gain popularity

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Eau Claire, Wis, (WEAU) -- Themed 5Ks are putting the fun back in exercise.

6,000 people are signed up to run The Color Run in Eau Claire on Sunday, April 27th.

Organizers say the run is a chance for people to escape, get some exercise and spend time with friends.

“It's a celebration of happiness, of wellness of togetherness. We want people to be able to come spend a few hours with us and forget about what's going on in their lives, act silly, have a good time and enjoy being together,” said Race Director Kari Dawson.

“You don't have to be a serious runner, you don't even have to run...you can walk,” she added.

5Ks like The Color Run are popping up all over western Wisconsin.

Race Director Kari Dawson says themed fun-runs are popular because they take the intimidation out of running a race.

The Color Run's success at bringing new people into running has been seen with other races, too. In the fall, nearly 3,000 people came out for the Biggest Loser Run.

This spring/summer, new races have already scheduled a start date.

The first ever Oz Run at Irvine Park will take place on May 24th. It’s Wizard of Oz-themed and people are encourage to dress the part.

“We are encouraging people to dress up and there will be a costume contest,” said Danielle Brown with Clear Channel.

Brown, an avid runner, says are a great distance for beginners and people who are looking to improve their mile times.

But, the Oz Run and 5Ks like it aren't just about fun, but about giving back.

"That’s another motivation because you know it’s going to a good cause," said Brooke Lukowitz.

Brooke Lukowitz is organizing Eau Claire’s first Donut Dash.

“The concept is that you stop at donut stations along the way and eat it fast while running,” said Lukowitz.

All the money raised from the Donut Dash will help Partners for Ethiopia build a clinic. It’s also being held at Irvine Park on May 17th.

The Oz Run is raising money for the welcome center at Irvine Park and Feed My People Food Bank.

The Color Run check-in runs through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. People can still register by heading down to the YMCA. Registration costs $40.

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