OMG – OMG – OMG. I am still in Cloud 9 from Saturday’s (May 11th) first ever Running Universal 5k featuring the Minions. I had such a fantastic time and I can’t wait to do it all again.
Universal Studios announced their new Running Universal Series and the first race in the series is featuring the Minions. I was all in. I didn’t know what to expect from a run that was held by a theme park. Originally there was only one day, May 11th. It sold out quickly. Then in mid-March Running Universal added a second day, May 12th which happened to be Mother’s Day. That was an excellent choice.
I arrived at little after 4am on race day to get my packet. Trying to find the packet pickup was a little bit confusing because there were no signs posted so we (the group of runners I had found) had to keep asking officials. We also didn’t know the City Walk very well either. That didn’t put any damper on things at all. We all smiling, talking, laughing, and just excited about this run.
Packet pickup was easy as pie. The bib is cute but the drawstring they gave us with the collectors pin and shirt are even cuter. They didn’t have much merchandise, I figured since this is the very first time they are feeling everything out. I’m hoping next year they have super cute Minions hats, beanies, shirts, etc.
I met up with my friend Carrie and we were in our corral before 5am. We got in corral 2 (we just didn’t know it) and we were discussing the other 5k in the Universal Running Series (to be revealed at the end of this post), movies, races, and snapping pics until the 6am start time.
They rolled out the yellow carpet for us. Your corral stands on this yellow carpet, you’re facing the entrance to Universal Studios Theme Park, and it is exciting. Once the air horn sounded for our corral to go we were all off and jogging. Running? I saw very and I mean very few people running. Everyone was either walking or doing a jog/walk. There was too much to see and so many photo opportunities.
The first photo stop was with Gru and Drew. The characters were having such a blast with us runners, making goofy photos with us, high fives, and even the employees were super nice offering to take our picture with our phones. They were not rushing us through the photo stop, nor the course. That made the experience so enjoyable and positive.
I hadn’t been to Universal Studios since 1997/1998, so I was in complete tourist mode. Carrie was telling me about all the new changes to the park, and we were running at a slow pace so I could see everything. We ran through Simpsons land which I have always loved the Simpsons. Then we entered my favorite, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Now I have been wanting to go and see this every since it came to the Hollywood Theme Park. We ran past Hogwarts, then we ran to Hogsmead and through Hogsmead. It is absolutely amazing.
We continued through the park until we hit the backlots. The view is absolutely amazing and we could see the Warner Brothers Studio. We continued on and found ourselves at “Jaws”. We were running around the beach where Jaws lives when we spotted a Minion. Carrie and I were on the look out for Minions while we were on the course and we spited on. We got in line to get our picture taken. The line moved really fast and the employees were so nice.
Next, we had the task of going up an incline. Hills for breakfast it was. Once we got up the top of the hill and round the corner there it was, The Bates Motel with Norman Bates’ house behind it. I am an Alfred Hitchcock fan with “Psycho” being one of my favorite Hitchcock films. There was a photo stop at The Bates Motel. We totally stopped for a photo. We made our way to the home of Norman Bates we were spotted an evil Minion. He made a big mess, behind him was the set for “War of the Worlds”.
As we made our way out of the “War of the Worlds” Carrie noticed the photographer and started posing with me. I was putting my cell phone away and didn’t even notice. I was joking how I looked lost which was an everyday thing for me lately. Even the photographer joked with us. It was all good times and positive vibes all day long.
Guess what we spotted not far from our evil Minion friend…you guest it. A Minion. We followed the course and jumped in line to get our picture taken. The Minions were having so much fun with all of us runners. We couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and joking. We couldn’t believe it. We were near the end of the course and the finish line was near. This was a race I didn’t want to end. We jogged to the finish line and we were all smiles as we crossed. I don’t think we stopped smiling.
There were more Minions at the finish line waiting for us. What did Carrie and I do when we saw the Minions? We got excited and jumped in line of course! We had our Minion Finisher Medal, and we spend the entire day meeting Minions, Gru, Drew, and taking pictures throughout the Universal Studios Property. One of the Minions wanted Carrie’s banana. He just kept staring at it. Carrie and I were laughing as well as other runners around us. An employee said “You’ll get a break in a little bit then you can eat a banana but you gotta take a picture first”. We were laughing and that got the hungry Minion to pose for a picture with us.
None of the restaurants at the Universal City Walk were open. Carrie said there was a place nearby in Toluca Lake where we could grab breakfast. I was down. Carrie introduced me to my very first mimosa. It was yummy and just what I needed along with coffee, water, and a good breakfast. We stayed there for hours talking and having a good time. This was the most fun I have had during a race in a very long time. Us runners got a treat in our Minions bag. In it was an invitation code to register for the next 5k in the Running Universal Series. I cannot wait until the Jurassic World 5k run on November 16th. Be sure to keep your eyes on Running Universal for when registration opens. Carrie and I registered while we were having brunch. We are in and planning our costumes.
This race was incredibly organized, the course was sectioned off and very easily to follow. There was a lot of course support, employees were out and genuinely cheering us on. Tons of security officers out, the water stops had full cups of water and the tables were filled with full water cups. Medical tents and personal out on the course. Lots of Minions out on the course, and a lot of photo stops. Running Universal gave all runners plenty of time to get their pictures, finish the course and get their finisher medal before closing the course and finish line down.
We got so much free stuff too. We got free parking, a free Minion drawstring bag, Minion race t-shirt, free race photos, Finisher’s Medal (it spins), and the invitation to register for the second race in the series. The digital finishers certificate is the best. It is super cute. I have added all the Running Universal races to my annual race schedule. I cannot wait to see if Running Universal adds a 10k, half marathon, marathon, and challenges after this first year.
Running Universal, you truly nailed it. Home run! Don’t stop now. We all loved our experience today and I am still smiling. Hopefully, a Harry Potter 5k is in the works.