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Blame it on my crappy knees or a childhood filled with organized sports that regularly used sprints as punishment, but I hate running. I complain about it on a daily basis, and yet, I drag myself to the treadmill and force myself to run to reap its cardiovascular benefits, to continue to fit into my skinny jeans, and because the gym's TV is my only access to cable (a girl's gotta watch "Breaking Bad" live before the spoilers get tweeted left and right).

Another reason I continue to log hours on the belt that never ends? I know it's only a matter of time before I give in and become a part of the latest themed marathon/run/race trend. My parents are doing it, my friends are doing, and my friends' parents are doing it ... but the real draw is that themed races seem to actually make running -- dare I say it -- fun. The magical combination of a cause, some fresh air, a comically large finish line, memorabilia, and cheering crowds seems to cancel out all the panting and scowling I've grown accustomed to.

So as I approach my inevitable treadmill burnout phase, I decided to start eyeing my options by rounding up the top themed races that promise to make running fun. Not only do these give participants something to look forward to, but they also keep training motivation high, donate to great causes, and disguise one of the most loathed exercises with enviable Instagram photos and after parties. Which one would you like to try?

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