Run Wild 5K @ the Metro Richmond Zoo!

Sat May 8, 2021 Moseley, VA 23120 US Directions
Racing to save the endangered African Penguin!
Race Inside Zoo!

Run Wild Mini

8:00AM EDT - 8:15AM EDT

Run Wild 5k

8:30AM EDT - 9:30AM EDT

The bi-annual Run Wild 5k returning Spring 2021!

Welcome to the Run Wild 5k event at the Metro Richmond Zoo.  This year we are celebrating the endangered African Penguin!  

Experience the Zoo from a whole new perspective! Come out for some exercise and lots of FUN, on Saturday, May 8th! Grab your racing shoes and get ready to sprint around the perimeter of your favorite local zoo - the Metro Richmond Zoo (including their Cheetah Conservation Center!) Your morning run will consist of a 3.1 mile run or walk. This all-terrain course takes you around the perimeter of the Zoo as you dash by rhinos, zebras, cheetahs and more! After you cross the finish line, each runner can visit the Zoo for FREE! Any spectators that come with you will receive a 10% discount off their zoo admission tickets for race day. 

Our newest 2021 addition: Run Wild Mini!

This 1 mile fun run is designed for children age 4 - 11. But runners of all ages are welcome with a participating child.  Parents must participate with a child age 4-7.  This course goes through some of the pathways of the zoo and a few all-terrain portions as well.  Parents can run with their children, but will also require a ticket. Children under 4 (stroller riders) do not need a ticket. *Strollers must be able to handle all-terrain (gravel 5%, grass 20%, dirt 5%, pavement 70%).



The endangered African Penguin

"The African penguin is native to the south and west coasts of Africa. The IUCN has listed African penguins as endangered. It’s estimated that the current population of African penguins consists of 70,000 breeding pairs; this is 10% of the population that existed in 1900. Their population decline is mainly attributed to oil spills, habitat destruction, and competition for food.

In the wild, their average lifespan is around 15-20 years, but in captivity they can live much longer. The Metro Richmond Zoo has the oldest penguin in the US at age 41.

Our African penguin conservation program is one of the most successful in the country. Since 1996, 258 African Penguins have been hatched at the Zoo. Currently, the Zoo is home to 33 penguins. The Metro Richmond Zoo participates with Zoological Association of America (ZAA) Animal Management Program (AMP) for penguins." - Metro Richmond Zoo website


100% of Run Wild's net proceeds from this race will benefit the African Penguin through these 3 reputable organizations. Click on their links to see how they are making important contributions to mitigate this species' extinction.


African Penguin Conservation Program - Metro Richmond Zoo
Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds - Namibia and South, Africa
Dyer Island Conservation Trust - South, Africa



Saturday, May 8th 2021



Mini - Start waves every few minutes from 8:00 am - 8:15 am 

5k - Start waves every few minutes from 8:30 am - 9:30 am 




Metro Richmond Zoo

8300 Beaver Bridge Road

Moseley, Va 23120




Run Wild Mini 

  • $20 (Non Zoo Member) $15 (Zoo Member)  Pre-registration
  • $25 (Non Zoo Member) $20 (Zoo Member)  Same day registration
    • + Event t-shirt and same day zoo ticket - $10

Run Wild 5k 

  • $45 (Non Zoo Member) $40 (Zoo Member)  Pre-registration
  • $50 (Non Zoo Member) $45 (Zoo Member)  Same day registration




Run Wild Mini

  • This 1 mile fun run is designed for children age 4 - 11. But racers of all ages are welcome with a participating child.
  • Mini Runners must be at least 4 years old to run
  • Mini Runners 4 - 7 years old must have an adult run with them

Run Wild 5k

  • 5K Runners must be at least 8 years old to run
  • 5K Runners 8 -11 years old must have an adult run with them




Run Wild Mini

  • Entry to race
  • Race bib
  • Finishers Medal
  • Post race refreshments
  • Support African Penguin Conservation
  • **Event t-shirt and same day Zoo ticket available for $10 more**

Run Wild 5k

  • Entry to race
  • Race bib and timed results
  • Finishers Medal
  • Event t-shirt
  • FREE same day ticket into zoo
  • Post race refreshments
  • Support African Penguin Conservation




If you are a current Zoo Member, follow the prompt at the end of registration to receive $5 off your entry.  

Zoo Members must provide their membership card for validation on race day at the check-in; otherwise you will be charged the remaining $5 fee before race entry. 




Parking is FREE.  Please follow parking attendants as they will guide all runners/spectators into a designated parking lot. 



This all-terrain 5k spans the perimeter of the Zoo including off-site facilities such as the Cheetah Conservation Center. Portions of the course route will be traveling in between the two perimeter fences that surround the entire Zoo. Look out for wild life! While running you'll be able to spot animals inside the Zoo separated from you by a fence like rhinos, zebras, cheetahs and much more! Ready to get a little closer? At two points during the course you will be running inside enclosures with farm animals such as goats, pigs, sheep, & donkey.  The all-terrain course consists of mostly dirt, mulch, and grass trails with some gravel and asphalt pathways.  The trail has winding turns, some rolling hills, crosses many creeks, beautiful views, a few steep hills, and sights of exotic wildlife.


This course follows paved zoo pathways including by the African Penguin exhibit and a few all-terrain trails as well. This is a 1 mile fun run for kids.  Strollers are welcome and must be able to handle all-terrain (gravel 5%, grass 20%, dirt 5%, pavement 70%).



Please be respectful of the Metro Richmond Zoo property, animals, and exhibits.  No climbing over fences, leaving the trail, smoking, shouting, taunting animals, or playing music from speakers.  We reserve the right to remove you from the race without a refund if you fail to follow these guidelines. 

Run Wild Mini: For the safety of the animals, some will remain indoors (off exhibit) while racers run by their exhibits. These animals will be back on exhibit for the normal walk-through zoo.  The penguins will be out during the fun run.




There will be water available at the start and end of the race.


There will be water available at the start, middle, and end of the race.



Pre-race packet pickup:  Friday, May 7, 2021 from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Metro Richmond Zoo. (highly recommended)

Race-day packet pickup: Saturday, May 8, 2021 60 minutes before your start time. (expect long wait times)



**Skip lines by using packet pickup on May 7, 2021 at the zoo from 3:00pm - 6:00pm.**

  1. Arrive wearing a mask to check in and pick up race packet. 
  2. Runners must check-in 15-60 minutes before their race corral starts.
  3. Corral starts will be divided into smaller race waves of 50 that begin every few minutes to provide adequate social distancing.
  4. Runners will advance to the start lane queues approx. 5-10 minutes when they are ready to start. 
  5. Staff will bring the next wave from the start lane queues every few minutes from 8:30am - 9:30 am for the 5k (8:00 am - 8:15 am for the Mini)



For public safety concerns amidst the current Pandemic, we are designating certain spectator zones.  Strict adherence is mandatory. There will be adequate space to social distance; please do so.  Masks are required to be worn at the race site if you cannot distance yourselves by at least 6' of others. 

Designated Spectator Zones

  1. Start Line Field
  2. Finish Line Field

Spectator Procedures

  • Spectators will arrive with their runner then move to the start line field where they can cheer their runner on at the start of the race.
  • After the start, they must either wait in their vehicles or in the finish line field until their runner makes their way across the finish line.
  • The course is designed to provide spectators easy visibility of the runners for several hundred yards before they cross the finish line.
  • Spectators may bring lawn chairs to set up in the finish line field. (no lawn chairs permitted at the start line field)



5k Runners will receive a free same day Zoo admission ticket with the purchase of Run Wild 5k race ticket. Mini runners can purchase an event t-shirt which includes same day zoo entry for $10.

  • The Zoo will open early at 8:45 am to allow race finishers early access.
  • Zoo ticket will be valid for the day of the race only
  • Zoo ticket may only be redeemed after race completion
  • Spectators can receive a 10% discount on admission tickets the day of the race when entering with their racer.
  • Spectators cannot enter into the Zoo with a discounted entry before their participant has completed the race.
  • Race wristbands are your admission into the race and the zoo.
    • If a racer presents a cut, broken, or missing wrist band they will be denied access into the zoo.

Zoo Members

  • If you are a current Zoo Member, follow the prompt at the end of registration to receive $5 off your race fee. 
  • Zoo Members must provide their membership card for validation on race day at the check-in; otherwise you will be charged the remaining $5 fee before Race entry. 

The overall 1st place Male and 1st place Female winners will receive a free animal encounter with Melon the African Penguin.  The penguin encounter will take place on race day. Winners will be contacted shortly after all race results are in.


Animal encounters are also available to any guests at the zoo during their visit.  Exciting ambassador animals like this African penguin come with a zoo keeper to teach small groups about the Zoo's conservation efforts! No animal contact is allowed. (image above is with an MRZ employee) Animal encounters must be scheduled in advance.  To schedule or learn more, visit


COVID-19: We are constantly reviewing all of the Governor's safety guidelines and the CDC's to ensure that we operate in a safe manner amidst this pandemic.  Here are some of the adjustments made:

  1. Runners who are exhibiting Covid 19 symptoms must not participate. You may run your race virtually or defer until the next race.
  2. The Run Wild race will limit the number of participants on the course by utilizing start waves of only 50 participants.
  3. Start waves will commence every few minutes (50 participants each wave). 
  4. Pre-race staging will be spread out over several acres to provide ample social distancing space.
  5. Runners will be provided ample pre-race runner warm-up space
  6. Spectators will have vast space in the start line field and finish line field to spread out and watch their runners.
  7. Spectators and runners are required to wear a mask unless they can maintain 6' of distance from others.
    • Runners are not required to wear masks while running the race.
  8. Runners are encouraged to stay more than 10 feet from other racers not in your running party while racing.  Adequate space for passing slower participants safely is available.
  9. Bag drop is not available (please keep all of your belongings in your car).
  10. Staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks at all times during check-in, water stations, finish line, and when they are within 6' of participants.
  11. Adequate zoo entry will be reserved for participants and their guests for Run Wild 5k and Mini. The zoo currently operates at 50% capacity as per the current COVID restrictions.
Run Wild 5k Route
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