Many people go running for their health and to get (or remain) physically fit. It may seem strange to some, but other people do it for the love of competition. They actually like running competitively.
Over the years, the races that people can participate in have become increasingly…crazy. Marathons or an ultra marathons aren’t the only races you can sign up for. Now, there are 5k, 10k, and half-marathon races that are themed, full of obstacles, or both.
(And it’s getting a little weird.)
1. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
Walt Disney World has 3 different races during this weekend, a marathon, a half marathon, and a 5K. Whatever your running level, there is a race for you and you can enjoy a tour of the park and high fives from the characters.
2. Zombie Runs
This type of 5K features people dressed as zombies chasing you through the entirety of the course. You wear a belt with 3 flags on it representing your health. If they are all taken from you by a zombie, congrats, you’ve just “died” and failed the race.
3. Color Runs
At The Color Run, participants start out in all-white, head-to-toe, and finish decked out in a spattering of bright, dazzling color. How it works: At each kilometer of the race, runners are blitzed by volunteers, sponsors, and staffers with a new colored powder.
4. The Hot Dog Challenge
The New York Rogue Runners’ Hot Dog Challenge might seem simple enough: a 2.5-mile run through New York’s Central Park, Midtown, and Times Square — but there’s a big, foot-long twist. At 10 predetermined food carts, competitors must stop, purchase a hot dog, and down it before trucking along to the next stop.
5. Twinkie Run
Twinkies may not be the best race day fuel, but on April Fool’s Day anything goes! Held on April 1st in Ann Arbor’s Gallup Park, the annual 5K sweetens things up with tables upon tables of Twinkies before, during, and after the race.
6. This gritty 10 to 12 mile challenge packs over 20 military-style obstacles, all designed (by the British Special Forces!) to test competitors’ strength, stamina, and mental grit. Oh, and it recently has introduced “tear gas” as their newest obstacle. Good luck with that one.
7. Chocolate Run
If running and chocolate sounds like the perfect combination to you, you’re in luck! You need to go to the Ontario Chocolate Race where all forms of chocolate are given to you in the form of a 5K, 10K, or 10 mile race.
8. Warrior Dash
This filthy 5K involves 12 “obstacles from hell,” including leaping over fire, scaling 12-foot rope walls, and sprinting, wading, and crawling through muddy obstacles of all shapes and sizes.
9. The Empire State Building Run-Up
This grueling run-up starts from the ground floor of New York’s Empire State Building and finishes at the 88-flights up observation deck. But not everyone can get in on the action: Runners must enter a random lottery to win one of the race’s few hundred spots.
10. New Year Midnight Run
The 4-mile race through Central Park features festive costumes, live entertainment, and a (nonalcoholic) champagne station halfway through the run. Oh, and when the clock strikes midnight and it’s fireworks time, don’t forget to look up!
11. The Turkey Trot
With community and charity at its core, the YMCA Turkey Trot is the perfect way to get the fam together for a feel-good walk or run on Thanksgiving morning. Dress as a turkey, a pilgrim, or in your favorite pjs — the Trot brings the fun back into running in cities all across the country.
12. Undie Run
Each year the Undie Run challenges college students across the country to strip down to their skivvies and make a run for it. The clothes they shed at the starting line are then donated to charity.
13. Nude Races
The Nude Run is a 10K through the pristine forests of Finland, where participants can run, walk, or Nordic walk at their own leisurely pace. Competitors are limited to shoes, socks, and hats.
14. The Krispy Kreme Challenge
The challenge involves this – a 5 mile run whilst eating a dozen doughnuts. Sounds like a pretty ridiculous stomach cramp if you ask me.
15. Marathon du Medoc
Set in the Medoc wine region near Bordeaux, France, this world-famous event takes runners on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure through the region’s most breathtaking chateaux and vineyards. Stationed along the way: 23 drinking posts for marathoners to taste the best wines in the world.
16. Central Park Undie Run
The Central Park run will cover 1.7 miles of pure fun, like every year, on the Friday before the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon. Competitiors are encourages to wear their most patriotic undies they own for the “Celebrate America Undie Run” through Central Park.
17. The Jingle Run
In support of the Arthritis Foundation’s mission to prevent, control, and cure arthritis and related diseases, participants hit the pavement donning jingle bells, costumes, and plenty of holiday cheer.
18. Hot Chocolate Races
“America’s Sweetest Race” indulges 5 and 15K finishers with Ghirardelli hot cocoa, chocolate fondue, and other chocolaty treats.
19. Boston Urban Iditarod
This is hardly the famed Alaskan Iditarod. For the urban iteration, they’ve replaced the dogs with people, snow gear with costumes, and sleds with — you guessed it — shopping carts. Along the way, expect to hit at least five “check point” bars, where various challenges await.
20. Spartan Races
Designed by seven “insane ultra-athletes” and a Royal Marine, the Spartan Race combines obstacles like fire, mud, barbed wire, and a few hellish curve balls to get competitors out of their comfort zone.
If you’re tired of boring old running, give one of these races a try. Just be prepared for obstacles, tear gas, and apparently a lot of fire. Maybe even zombies.