Combining two sports is becoming a habit for many Minor League Baseball teams, as the action on the field is sometimes paired with a 5K. Whether the ballpark is used as a starting or finishing point for the race, or if the team is solely hosting the event, 5Ks are a great way to combine the loves of many fans.This week in Promotions Watch, we take a look at some of the notable 5Ks that will unfold at ballparks around the minors this summer.
What inspired this post was a story last week from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High A; Carolina League), who are hosting a ColorBurst 5K (CB5K) on June 2. That promotion will be paired with a CB5K-inspired jersey, which will be worn for that evening’s game before being auctioned off to benefit Tidelands Health.
Though the Pelicans’ jersey represents a unique twist on the promotion, there are many other 5Ks to watch. One is just around the corner, as the Akron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League) are set to host runners on April 17. The RubberDucks 5K Run comes with an advance $30 fee that includes a free refreshment, plus a ticket to the RubberDucks’ 2:05 game at Canal Park. Prior to the 5K, which begins at 10:30 a.m., the RubberDucks will stage a one-mile kids run at 10:00.
Another upcoming event is presented by the Quad Cities River Bandits (Low A; Midwest League). On April 23, the River Bandits will partner with Palmer Chiropractic Clinics and the Quad Cities Times for the bi-state Bandits Race to Home 5K and Kids Fun Run. Starting at Modern Woodmen Park, runners will head across the Centennial Bridge into Illinois before returning to Iowa via the Arsenal Bridge and finishing at the ballpark. Advanced entry costs $30, with proceeds benefitting the Bandits Scholars Program.
The Kane County Cougars (Low A; Midwest League) will get in on the action on May 21, which will feature Ozzie’s Home Run and Walk 5K. Taking place in and around Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, the race will end at home plate, with portions shown live on the ballpark’s video board. For kids 12 and under, there will be the Ozzie’s Inside the Park Dash, a roughly half-mile run that will take place in the ballpark. Adults can enter the 5K at an advanced purchase price of $33, which includes a free post-race brat plus a beer for those 21 and over.
Hadlock Field and the Portland Sea Dogs (Class AA; Eastern League) will have a part in two 5Ks this year. The Mother’s Day 5K takes place on May 8, and starts at the Portland Expo building and concludes in front of the third base dugout at Hadlock Field.
Following the same course is the Father’s Day 5K, which is set for June 19. Runners for both races can enter at $20, and the winner of each will receive a prize pack that includes tickets for the remainder of the Sea Dogs’ season. Proceeds from the Mother’s Day 5K will be split by the Cancer Community Center and the Maine Cancer Foundation, while the Maine Coalition to Fight Prostate Cancer will be the beneficiary of the Father’s Day 5K.
Coca-Cola Park—home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Class AAA; International League)—will play a major role in The Salvation Army Children’s Services 5th Annual Rock N’ Run 10K, 5K & Kids Fun. On May 21, runners can take part in one of one of three events that benefit The Salvation Army Children’s Services. Coca-Cola Park will be the starting and finishing point for both the 5K and the 10K, while the fun run—for kids 12 and under—takes place on the warning track. Current prices range from $35 for the 10K to $15 for the fun run.
Later this season, the Dayton Dragons (Low A; Midwest League) will once again stage the Subway Dragons 5K. On July 23, runners in the area can head to Fifth Third Field for an event that starts and ends at the ballpark. For as little as $25, runners will receive a free t-shirt, tickets to a Dragons game, and vouchers for free food from participating Subways.
The Greenville Astros (rookie; Appalachian League) are slated to host their 5K at Pioneer Park on July 23. While some details—including a new course—will be announced at a later date, runners can register through RunTriCities.org for $18. The event will include a variety of age groups, ranging from 12 and under to 60 and older.
For a ColorBurst 5K, runners can head to Eastwood Field on July 23, when the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Short Season; NY-Penn League) will host their first ColorBurst event. In partnership with ColorBurst, the Scrappers will host this family-friendly event that will be open to runners of all ages.
For the earlybird fee of $32.50, participants can purchase a package that includes CB5K apparel, and may bring one child per adult. The Scrappers are working with main sponsor Fizek to raise money for the event, and portions of the proceeds will benefit Akron’s Children’s Hospital-Mahoning Valley. The CB5K concludes at noon, but runners are encouraged to return to Eastwood Field that evening at 7:05 to see the Scrappers take on the Lowell Spinners.
Given that we are less than a week into the minor league season, it is likely that even more 5K events will be announced over the coming months. Even as we wait to see what could be in store later this summer, this slate of events should be enjoyable for runners and baseball fans alike.