Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
5
(1 Ratings)(1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
4
Invite the whole family to enjoy a great run through Universal Studios Hollywood where you’ll experience a Minion-themed course with Universal entertainment along the way before a fantastic finish at Universal CityWalk™. It’s all part of the excitement during the Inaugural Minion 5K that’s a perfect event for beginners, intermediates, … MORE
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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '19

    The inaugural Minion 5K was Running Universal’s first entry in what hopefully will become a series of Universal-themed events geared toward both runners and (fast) walkers. Universal has a number … MORE

    The inaugural Minion 5K was Running Universal’s first entry in what hopefully will become a series of Universal-themed events geared toward both runners and (fast) walkers. Universal has a number of popular properties it could feature in future races including Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and the Simpsons. And this is definitely an event that’s group- and family-friendly, since a loop of Amity Island with the “Jaws” theme playing, a run past the Bates Motel from “Psycho,” or a photo op with the Minions isn’t the same without someone(s) to share it all with. Plus of course there’s the post-race refueling session at Voodoo Doughnuts in Universal CityWalk, directly across from the finish line.

    Luckily we took our time enjoying the backlot and were in no hurry to finish, since the out-and-back portion of the course included a significant hill (both up and down) in mile 2 as well as some other minor climbs. But by the time we crossed the finish line alongside the ginormous Eddie Van Halen 5150 guitar standing outside the Hard Rock Café, we were already looking forward to Running Universal’s next event, the Jurassic World 5K in November.

    If you want to be in the first wave of starters, you’ll want to arrive well ahead of the 6:00am start time. We lined up in our corral at about 5:55am and, not surprisingly, ended up starting in the last wave at 6:37am — which sounds like a long wait, but the organizers made the smart inaugural decision to allow five minutes between waves, which nicely minimized crowding along the course and so was well worth the wait on a pleasantly cool, clear morning.

    Though the logistics may be difficult given the limited size of the park and backlot, ideally Universal will find a way to offer 10K and half marathon distances as well — fellow runners have said they would happily travel to run a Harry Potter-, Jurassic Park- or Simpsons-themed half marathon. For now, though, as an Angeleno I’m excited to return for the Jurassic World 5K in November and to see what lies ahead for Running Universal, which should help fill the gap created when runDisney abruptly canceled all its SoCal events last year.

    BOTTOM LINE: Unless you abhor Hollywood, I’d highly recommend the Minion 5K as one of the most entertaining 5Ks you’ll run. There were plenty of families running together, and though it’s not a cheap family outing, it is entirely unique and especially if you’ve been looking for a reason to visit Universal Studios yourself or bring the family along. And though the race guidelines did mention a strict cutoff time, we saw no evidence that anyone was rushed, and we even watched the on-course race crew provide a personal escort to the last participant across the finish line. It was gratifying to see an excellent inaugural event end on a positive note. Well done, Running Universal!

    PRODUCTION: If you didn’t know, you may have been surprised to learn the Minion 5K was Running Universal’s first race of any kind. From my perspective, race day production went off without a hitch or a single “DOH!” moment. Parking and packet pickup on race morning were quick and easy, and the starting waves were spaced out five minutes apart to reduce crowding on the course. It was like they’d done this before… and in some sense they had, since race day operations were the purview of Spectrum Sports, organizers of the Catalina Island Marathon, Avalon 50 and SoCal runDisney events, among others.

    Not surprisingly, the Minion 5K was more expensive than your typical local 5K, but then again this isn’t your typical local 5K. A race like this is more about value than price, and with that in mind I’d call Running Universal’s first effort a solid value for fans of any of the Universal Studios properties — and especially if it’s been a while since your last visit to the park (for us it had been more than a decade). Registration cost $75 and included:
    – race course through the park and backlot (the main incentive for me)
    – free parking in the ET lot (normally $25) before 5:30am; VIP runners received complimentary valet service in the slightly closer Jurassic Parking (get it?) Lot
    – free race day packet pickup, a huge bonus for those of us who don’t want to spend the entire weekend driving around LA
    – significant discount on park admission ($20 off the usual $114 price tag, if I recall)
    – early access to the park (8:30am for runners, 9:00am for the general public)
    – photo ops and decent swag

    SWAG: As a bling junkie, I appreciated the eye-catching Minion finisher’s medal much more than the cotton t-shirt sporting the Minion 5K logo, which I’m unlikely to wear since the cotton in my casual wardrobe these days is negligible. As expected, professional photos taken along the course were available for purchase, but while other on-course character photo ops were available free of charge, post-race photos with the Minions were for purchase only, which struck me as an arbitrary decision. On the other hand, the bouncy Minion who joined the PA announcer onstage at the finish line was more than happy to either pose for photos or photobomb runner selfies (see attached photo), so I’m guessing most of the finishers who wanted a free photo lived happily ever after.

    Hope to see you at the Jurassic World 5K on Nov 16!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Lani May 23, 2019 at 2:04pm

    I guess the pronunciation would’ve been too sticky to call themselves “RUniversal”, although that would’ve been too clever for this pun fan. Thanks for the review! Too bad the shirts… MORE

    I guess the pronunciation would’ve been too sticky to call themselves “RUniversal”, although that would’ve been too clever for this pun fan. Thanks for the review! Too bad the shirts are cotton. Bleaugh LESS

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    M_Sohaskey May 23, 2019 at 4:29pm

    Cotton is definitely a non-starter, but then again I don’t run many 5Ks and don’t expect too much in the way of swag when I do… for me the cool… MORE

    Cotton is definitely a non-starter, but then again I don’t run many 5Ks and don’t expect too much in the way of swag when I do… for me the cool course and medal were definitely the draw. And YES, as much as I love a good portmanteau myself, I could envision Universal “running” into trouble (and tying a few tongues) by trying to get too cute with its name… probably better to keep the name straightforward and let the individual events speak for themselves! LESS

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    PeteSinCA May 23, 2019 at 7:16am

    Unless Run Disney resumes doing runs in Anaheim, there may be opportunity for Universal to get a franchise going. Hollywood itself is a bit grubby for my tastes (some bad… MORE

    Unless Run Disney resumes doing runs in Anaheim, there may be opportunity for Universal to get a franchise going. Hollywood itself is a bit grubby for my tastes (some bad experiences), so I wouldn't stay in Hollywood itself to do this race. LESS

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    M_Sohaskey May 23, 2019 at 4:31pm

    Agreed that Universal has a golden opportunity here, along with the DC Comics Run Series. And though the name is a bit confusing, Universal Studios Hollywood isn't actually located in… MORE

    Agreed that Universal has a golden opportunity here, along with the DC Comics Run Series. And though the name is a bit confusing, Universal Studios Hollywood isn't actually located in Hollywood, but rather in its own nearby city (Universal City). Luckily there are plenty of places to stay here in SoCal that allow easy access to the park, and especially at 5:00am. You know we'd love to have you join us for a race down here, Pete! LESS

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