5 Alternative Running Events to Spice Up Your Race Calendar
Ready for a new fitness challenge?
So you’ve conquered the simple road race, whether it’s a 5K, 10K or even a marathon. But maybe you’re looking for a new kind of challenge that will really test your physical and mental limits in an oddly fun way and take you out of your comfort zone, but ultimately give you an incredible feeling of satisfaction and triumph you never expected?
Tackle one of these alternative running races listed here, and we guarantee you will feel empowered to take on the world! The distances vary, as do the number and types of obstacles. They all try to make it as hard as possible to get to the end. Some even make you question your ability to survive. No longer can you simply rely on your legs and lungs to get you to the finish. You will also need some good core and upper body strength, an extra dose of mental toughness and, in some cases, a few good teammates in order to succeed. Oh, and lose your aversion to getting down and dirty because you're going get wet, and covered in mud! But also know that at the end, you will have fun and you will finish with a huge smile on your mud-spattered face.
Let your sense of adventure be your guide in choosing which one you want to try. Grab your spouse and maybe a friend or two, and sign up (because it’s always more fun to have company!)
“I would keep saying to myself ‘I can't believe I'm doing this, this is crazy and amazing!’ I would feel so exhilarated. Then there would be moments when you wonder, ‘why am I doing this? It's so hard…' But to be honest I always felt like a badass after every finish!” - Jennifer Arel, Air Force military spouse and member of the TRIFECTA Tribe.
You can do this!!
This race is a good one to get your feet wet (literally!). It covers 3.1 miles with 12 obstacles (like Fisherman’s catch, Muddy Mayhem, Under the Wire and Warrior Roast…you get the picture.) Post race rewards a fuzzy warrior helmet and ice cold beer. When you finish, you too can claim to be part of the “Warrior Nation.” The participants in this race are truly out to have a good time! Located in 11 cities throughout the U.S.
Cost: starts at $45.
THE FAMILY BONDING EXPERIENCE
This race covers roughly 5.9 miles with over 25 obstacles. Obstacles involve hauling heavy objects, leaping over fire, sliding down slippery slopes, crawling through mud under low netting…is it all starting to sound familiar? It is all about setting and meeting personal goals, testing your limits on some of the toughest obstacles, teamwork and friendship. The Savage Jr races are a great way to get the kids (12 and under) involved. The junior race features 10-12 junior obstacles laid out on a fun and challenging 1/2 mile course. Located in 12 cities throughout the U.S.
Cost: starts at $66
THE FIT COUPLE
With a motto like “To Prove to Myself I Can”, what other motivation do you need? There are actually three types of Spartan races: a “sprint” distance (3+ miles with 20+ obstacles), a “super” distance (8+ miles and 25+ obstacles) and a “beast” distance (12+ miles and 30+ obstacles). Be prepared to crawl through barbed wire, jump over fire and throw a spear like a Spartan, to name a few of the challenges - or pay the penalty with a large number of burpees. This series offers a Kids race
(and online training plan) for kids ages 4-14 with distances from .5 to 2 miles. Here’s a bonus challenge: Earn membership into the Spartan TRIFECTA Tribe by finishing one of each Spartan distance (Sprint, Super and Beast) in a calendar year (January 1 – December 31st), anywhere in the world. Over 130 events are scheduled in at least 60 locations worldwide.
Cost: starts at $45
THE WORKPLACE TEAM OR FRIENDS
The Tough Mudder
was designed by British Special Forces, and intended to be a team challenge rather than an individual event. It is not timed, but it is true to its name and claims to be the “probably the toughest event on the planet.” It covers 10-12 miles with 20-25 obstacles. You will definitely need to rely on teamwork to get through some of the obstacles, so pick your teammates wisely! Obstacles include Electroshock Therapy, Arctic Enema, and Warrior Carry. If you’re worried about taking on the full distance right away, this race series also offers the “Tough Mudder Half” that covers a mere 5 miles with 13 (equally challenging) obstacles. Located in 15 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Cost starts at $99
THE ULTIMATE MILITARY SPOUSE CHALLENGE
. Reminiscent of the RocknRoll series of road marathons and half marathons, this 5K challenges its participants to “run, jump, slide and crawl” through a series of up to 27 obstacles. Designed for all ability levels, their motto is “It’s not about being the biggest, strongest or fastest but doing the best you can.” Although you can compete individually, this is another race that relies on the help of another individual to finish. The reward at the end is being able to celebrate like a “gladiator” with beer and rock ’n roll. Located in 12 cities throughout the U.S.
Cost: starts at $55
Story by: Suzanne Helene Himes
Photos Courtesy of: Colleen Horigan