Southern Californians can run around a theme park again

November 20, 2018, 11:21 AM · Runners who are also theme park fans will get the chance to run around a Southern California theme park again next year. This time, though, it's going to be at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Parks & Resorts is getting into the running business with the launch of Running Universal. Its initial event will be a Minion 5K run around the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and backlot in May.

A 5K isn't long enough to make the event particularly compelling to serious runners — that's your standard "fun run" distance. Many serious runners will finish that in less than 20 minutes, and average runners probably would complete the run in around 30. Heck, you could walk the distance in about an hour. But for theme park fans, this 5K offers a rare opportunity — outside Halloween Horror Nights and Universal's VIP Tours — to actually step foot on the studio's backlot.

And there's the post-race party in CityWalk and the swag, too. Standard registration for the May 11, 2019 early morning event includes a medal, T-shirt, and collectable pin, along with post-race "beverages and refreshments," while a VIP registration adds a water bottle, post-race breakfast, and one-on-one meet-and-greet with the Minions. (Minions and other Universal characters will be out on the course, cheering on runners, too.) Costumes are okay, provided you follow the standard rules (family friendly, no weapons, nothing that drags on the ground or impedes other runners, don't cover your face, etc.) Standard registration is $75 and the VIP is $135. Fan packages for observers are $45, and include a hat and bag. Universal's annual passholders get a $10 discount on standard and VIP registrations.

Disneyland long had offered a variety of distance running events through runDisney, but the resort cancelled its upcoming events last year, in preparation for the construction of its fourth on-site hotel, which it now is no longer developing. The runDisney events at Disneyland included 10K and half marathon distances in addition to 5Ks, but those all routed the course through surrounding Anaheim streets off Disney property.

Universal Studios Hollywood is pretty much boxed in by the 101 freeway to the south and west, a branch of the LA river to the north, and mountains to the east, so running off property there would be somewhat difficult. The only real option would be to run northeast to Barham Boulevard... which would dump runners straight onto the Warner Bros. studio lot. Maybe a twofer studio run there? (I'd do it!)

Universal Orlando has offered 5K fun runs through its resort, though those have been restricted to Universal Orlando team members, annual passholders and invited guests in the past. So will we see "Running Universal" events come to Orlando next?

Replies (1)

November 20, 2018 at 5:27 PM

I will never understand why anyone would pay the equivalent of park admission to run through a park without actually experiencing the attractions.

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