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What's Up With All the Themed 5K Races Coming to Miami?

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Unless you've been living under a rock (or in a post-zombie-apocalypse bunker), you've undoubtedly noticed the exponential increase in the number of themed 5Ks coming to Miami.

We've got the Awesome 80's Run, Run For Your Lives, the Glow Run, Color Me Rad and a whole host of others. But here in Miami, this trend is a relatively new development. Charity 5Ks have been around a lot longer.

See also:

- Run For Your Lives Zombie 5K: An Undead Apocalypse in Hialeah

- The Glow Run 5K: Rave Culture on the Run Coming to Miami Beach

Races like these have popped up in other cities around the country for the past couple years, but 2012 seems to be Miami's year of the 5K. But why now -- and how do these 5K compare to traditional 5Ks?

Color Me Rad is a themed 5K coming to Sun Life Stadium in early 2013. Inspired by the Holi Festival in India, runners get bombarded with colored cornstarch, leaving them looking like a rainbow at the race's end. Registrations for the run cost $30 (and up, depending on date of registration). The race is all about color, fun and straight up silliness.

Gretchen Willard, director of PR for Color Me Rad, says the run's charity partner (in this case, the Dolphins Foundation) gets a percentage of proceeds. While she didn't identify exactly what the percentage is (it varies), she said the charities typically make around $15,000 per race. How much profit the organization itself makes is more of a mystery. It is a business, and run as such.

Willard said she thinks themed runs are increasing in popularity for a whole host of reasons, one of which is that people (boys and girls) just wanna have fun.

"People are just ready to have a good time. There's so much in life that you have to be serious or you have to be responsible. This is a chance to just to get your color on and let your hair down and have a good time. And I think people like doing these races with their friends or family, it's the social aspect that I think makes these themed runs successful," Willard says.

For Color Me Rad, fun is the bottom line. The same goes for most of other themed 5Ks, which is pretty obvious when you scroll through the post-run photos of attendees in crazy getups and elaborate costumes.

5Ks that are hosted by charities, however, are a bit of a different animal.

According to Grace Lopez, President of the Miami/Fort Lauderdale Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure (hosts of Race for the Cure, which took place downtown this past weekend), the 2011 race earned a whopping $1.7 million. Registrations for this year's race ran $27 to $35, depending on date. But almost all of the money goes straight into the charity's coffers.

"75% of the proceeds collected stay in our local community (after administrative expenses which is less than 20%) and the other 25% goes to Komen for scientific research," Lopez says.

These runs are typically a more serious affair, since the real reason behind the venture is to support the charity itself. That's not to say they're not fun -- they just bring a higher purpose to the table.

"I think that the participant, donor or supporter needs to have knowledge and do research on which charities they support. They need to question the bottom line and become familiar with the administrative cost. I think that where a percentage is stated, the actual number needs to be included. People today are more educated in which charities they give to and they deserve the right to know where their money is going," Lopez adds.

If you're into racing for a charity's benefit, participating in a race hosted by a non-profit is probably your best bet. That way, you know your dollars are going straight to the source.

But, if you're in it for costumes, crazy antics and wild times with your friends -- go for a themed 5K. They seem to break the bank as far as the fun factor. And if you're more of a turtle than a rabbit, no one's likely to care about your run time.

Lucky for us, Miami has plenty of both. Different strokes for different folks, after all.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

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