By Pure Matters

Welcome to a new segment we like to call “Fad or Fabulous?” where we weigh in on a new trend in health and fitness and give it our measure of value–and determine whether it’s trending now or here to stay.

In our first segment of Fad or Fabulous, we’ll look at boutique races that are popping up faster than Chipotle locations. We all know and love the national marathons (credit to New York and Boston Marathoners), and many of us have participated in local 10ks (6.21 miles) and 5ks (3.1 miles) to support great causes.

However, today we’re talking about a trend in races that make the traditional runner very excited: boutique races. These new events are themed; picture Halloween meets exercise. These new up-and-coming races are packed with fun and high in demand, proven by the waiting list and packet pick-up lines on race day.

Here is a sampling of new national theme races that are gaining popularity:

The Color Run: Dubbed “the Happiest Race on Earth,” participating in this is nothing but joy. Spoken from experience, from start to finish, runners have a good time. Participants can’t be afraid to get dirty because this run is the opposite of a White Party. Sporting white shirts, runners follow a 5k trail, being pelted along the way by staff with colored powder. At the end, racers look like they’ve stumbled out of a paintball game. The morning starts by picking up race packets, where everyone receives a race number, a Color Run T-shirt, sweat band, temporary tattoo of the run logo and packet of “color.” Once they’ve fully branded themselves, runners head to the starting area where a caffeinated MC pumps the crowd up with music. The race starts, and everyone runs to the first color station, being sprayed with colored cornstarch. Four stations later, everyone is a tied-died masterpiece as they cross the finish line. To end the day, participants head over to an outdoor party with a live dj, where dancing and silliness ensue. The BEST part of the day is when the DJ organizes everyone to open their color packets and let their “color” fly, as a cloud of color engulfs the dance floor. If you weren’t colored before, you will be after the mosh pit. A highly recommended experience!

Awesome 80s Run: It looks like every child of the 80s should partake in this event! “Where neon hits the road” is the slogan of this race where you can run a 5 or 10k, sporting 80s attire including neon, scrunchies, side ponytails, slouchy socks and high top sneakers. Aside from medals for fasted times, teams can win prizes for “most awesome team name” and “raddest costumes.” Try to finish first because the man and woman who cross the finish line first receive a special cassette-tape medal! After finishing the race in style, participants can get into the groove with an 80s cover band and pose for pictures with the Back to the Future DeLorean. Totally tubular!

Run For Your Lives Zombie 5k: Perfect for Halloween season, this race is a horror movie come to life. Runners navigate a 5k race with not only obstacles to get past, but avoiding Zombies and other scary creatures that will be on the chase. If the exercise doesn’t get your heart racing, the man in costume running after you certainly will! Runners are encouraged to dress up as creatures of the night as well, many of whom sport fake blood and pale faces. Once you cross the finish line, runners celebrate their escape from danger with live music, food and more.  Anyone who wants to practice for the zombie apocalypse should sign up.

Electric Run: This race is set apart from the others in two ways. First of all, it’s held at night. Secondly, it is synonymous with a rave with glowsticks and all things neon. If you hold a special place in your heart for the movie Tron, this run’s for you. The course to run is lit by one million watts of light and draped in music. Runners are encouraged to hold glowsticks, wear neaon and any creative costume they can come up with. Aside from seeing a stunning light show, runners receive glow necklaces and sunglasses and an LED bracelet to light their way home.

As a runner, I am looking forward to when these events are coming to my area, and I fully dress in costume when I go. I think these races are wonderful, but I also think they are something for now, not the long term. This being say, SIGN UP WHILE YOU CAN, because you don’t know if it’s going to be coming back the next year. I give this a Fabulous! On your mark, get set, GO.

–Errica Trezza