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Get ready to run, sweat, and find virtual creatures that don’t really exist!
From fitness freaks to those terrified of the gym, people around the world have galvanized because of their unanimous Pokémon Go obsession.
Kelsey Quick, a self-described Pokémon enthusiast, has taken it to another level, however. She is combining her love for fitness and Pokéballs to create what might likely be the first official Pokémon Go 5k in the country, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, June 30.
“The night Pokémon Go came out I wasted no time putting on my tennis shoes, and I ran longer than I had in a long time without even realizing it,” Quick told the Daily Dot. “After noticing that the eggs in the game hatched after 5k and 10k, all I could think about is a race centered around catching Pokémon.”
Quick created a Facebook event, Pokémon Go 5k–Tulsa, which started out as an activity for her and her 50 or so Pokémon-obsessed friends to get together, run, search for Pokémon, and trade cards. Soon after she created the event last Friday, 500 people confirmed; by the end of the weekend, over 2.5k were interested.
The event was originally to be held on July 23, but grew so big, she had to postpone it a week to make sure she filed all the needed paperwork with Tulsa County Parks and the district attorney’s office.
Other towns and cities are also organizing Pokémon Go race-like “meetups,” such as one in Carrollton, Georgia, but are quickly finding that based on city ordinances they can’t officially be called a 5k unless they cut through local-government red tape first.
“I immediately sought out ways to make this thing more legitimate by getting sponsors and ideas together to impress the Pokémon Go-ers attending,” said Quick. “I also never intended on making any money for the event, so I began looking for a charity that I was comfortable with giving to.”
Any money raised by attendees for the Tulsa event will go straight to James Mission, an organization dedicated to adoption and foster care services, said Quick. Though participation is free, there are other options for each runner and team. Besides casual walking or running, a squad can pay $15 to participate for a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place medal (Valor, Mystic, or Instinct), or simply volunteer.
The 5k will be followed by a scavenger hunt, where trainers are encouraged to trade cards, hunt for hiding Pokémon, combat in epic gym battles, and scavenge for Pokécenters.
It is required that runners wear at least “one Pokémon-themed article of clothing,” so if you’re anywhere near Tulsa, grab your Poké-gear and get training.
Dahlia Dandashi is a multimedia content producer. Her work has been published at the Austin American-Statesman and Viceland. An Arab-American raised in Dubai, she is based in Austin, Texas.