My wife is a runner. She (re)started a few months ago, after our son was born, and she recently she's been running 5Ks and other races. I've been asked, by her and others, when I'm going to start running. Short of responding "when pigs fly" I've often said, only half jokingly, that I'm far more likely to march 5K than I am to run it. And it gave me an idea.
I am, admittedly, a has-been, a decade and a half removed from my last formal marching experience. While I'm no where near in playing shape, I think it would be fun to strap on a drum or a pair of cymbals and step off once again. I may even train for it. So imagine this: A marching band puts on a "parade" of sorts, keeping squad leaders and minimal instrumentation intact, while ceding other instruments to 5K registrants. A registration packet gets you the music to a few simple tunes, and cadences if applicable. The band could hold a few open practices for those who felt the need to get some practice in. And then come "race" day? You march. Marching 8-to-5 at a brisk 120 bpm, 5K will take you about an hour and 13 minutes, not too much more of a time commitment on a Saturday morning than an actual race would have for many.
The sound may be middling to horrendous. You'd have folks at all different skill levels, in all sorts of different marching styles, marching side by side. And frankly, that's part of the beauty of it. Like a race, it would bring together all sorts of people around a common interest. Maybe I'm an outlier as someone who runs a band blog, but I'd jump at the chance, and I'd like to think that other former marchers - either those who do run or those who, like me, want something at a pace we're more used to - would as well. If a band near me picks this up as a fundraiser, count me in.