This past weekend, Universal Studios Hollywood invited us to attend their latest Running Universal event. You might remember that a few months ago, we covered their inaugural 5K, the Minion Run; however, for their second event, they went with something a bit more ferocious. Hold onto your butts – this 5K was in celebration of JURASSIC WORLD!

At around 6 am, thousands upon thousands of participants, ranging from runners, walkers, and everything in-between, congregated at the entrance gates of Universal Studios Hollywood. Many were dressed as iconic characters from the franchise all ranging from those dressed as Dr. Ellie Sattler, Dr. John Hammond, and Claire Dearing to those dressed as dinosaurs, DNA strands, and more. One thing was for certain though, the creativity was there in droves.

Photo courtesy of NBCUniversal

Once the race was underway, participants had the opportunity to experience areas of the park that most would love to venture through, most notably that of the world-famous backlot. As press, we were stationed outside the giant “Jurassic World” arch which is the entrance to the new ride (which inspired the run). When participants came through the arch, they had the chance to get a photo op with Blue, the infamous velociraptor in JURASSIC WORLD, as well as Juliet the Triceratops. It was so heartwarming to see the smiles light up the faces of children and adults alike as they rounded the corner to see the dinosaurs nearby.

After a while, we eventually made our way over to where the end of the race was located at Universal CityWalk’s 5 Tower Stage. You could feel the excitement here as a DJ spun tunes to hype up the crowd and racers who finished could take additional photo ops with the famed velociraptor. As each participant crossed the line, they received a collectible Finisher medal and for those who completed the 5K (and 10K the following day), they received an exclusive Challenge medal. Participating in a race of this size is no easy feat, and though you could see it on the face of some of the runners, there was a sense of accomplishment as they rounded the last bend and stepped over that finish line to collect their medals.

Photo courtesy of NBCUniversal

What I really appreciate about these Running Universal events is how much they are tailored for almost anyone to attend. We saw all walks of life, so to speak, ranging from the most athletic of runners to those who chose to just walk the route and take in their surroundings. There were people on bikes, moms pushing strollers, individuals in wheelchairs, and even a little puppy running with its owner, which made the race feel much more inclusive. No matter your fitness level, Running Universal‘s events really make a point to let people know that all are welcomed. That said, unlike the previous Minion Run, this one had an all-new 1K Kids’ Raptor Run which targeted those between the ages of 4-years and 12-years to participate. Also new to Running Universal was the addition of a 10K run which took place on Sunday.

In all, out of the two Running Universal races so far, this one was definitely my favorite. Sure, I’m biased because I love the Jurassic Park/World franchise so much, but I also really appreciated how dedicated these participants were to dress up in costume in the spirit of all things Jurassic Park. Being able to hang out in a relatively empty park, while the sun rose over the Jurassic World arches while watching participants fly by us as the sounds of Blue rose high into the sky, was, in its own way, pretty magical. Running Universal is an experience that you won’t want to miss out on as they plan to continue their events with different themes to engage participants and give them an experience unlike anything else they’ve done. For more information on Running Universal, visit runninguniversal.com.

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Shannon McGrew

Founder/Editor-in-Chief at Nightmarish Conjurings
Shannon is the Founder of Nightmarish Conjurings and a lover of all things horror and haunt related. When she's not obsessively collecting all things "Trick 'R Treat" related, or trying to convince everyone that "Hereditary" is one of the greatest horror films ever made, you can find her designing interiors for commercial restaurants. An avid haunt fan, Shannon spends the entire year visiting haunts and immersive experiences throughout the Southern California area and hopes to one day design her own haunted attraction.
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