Five Out-There Race Series

Looking fierce: Mother runner Ashley (tutu'd gal far right), her teammates, and her hubby getting muddy in a 2010 Warrior Dash

As we approach the end of the spring half- and full marathon season, it's time to think about mixing things up a bit this summer. It seems every time we turn around, a new, wacky race series has sprung up--events that include colorful paint, foam, obstacles, water, mud, fire, or sometimes a combo of almost all of these things. Whether you're looking for a few laughs, a fun family activity, or a break from a training plan, give these races a look-see. (Many of them have a kids' race, too.)

5KFoamFest: While this sounds a little risque (or maybe it's just my pervy mind), it's good, clean fun. Well, with a little mud mixed in. These races are, you guessed it, 3.1 miles in length with 15 to 30 obstacles set up along the way, including climbing up and over walls, rope nets, and hay mountains. There are several water obstacles, with our fave being the "Ginormous Slip 'n Slide." Participants can opt out of any challenge that looks too, well, challenging. Eleven more race dates this year, from Texas on west.

A riot of color at a Color Run

Color Run: A, ahem, bright idea for a race, this 3-mile moving party requires participants to wear a white shirt. Then there are "color zones" at five intervals along the 5K course where volunteers pelt runners and walkers (all paces welcome) with non-toxic, "magical color dust." This race emphasizes fun: You can sign up as a team to help your friends or family get their color on, and strollers are welcome. Nationwide series with 36 venues (although many are sold out). (Similar race is Color Me Rad.)

Hero Rush: This new race series involves a firefighter-themed 5K obstacle race that allows for anyone to experience what it is like to be a firefighter. Participants climb ropes, navigate through confined spaces, drag equipment, slide down poles, and even possibly perform CPR. Course are at least 5K. Even spectators can take part in the action, getting to do challenges that aren't part of the course. This series has a strong charity component, supporting, in particular, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Nine more 2012 venues in this national series. (Use the code "anothermotherrunner" to get 15% off entry fee for any one of the races in Hero Rush.)

Muddy Buddy: Grab a friend for one of these races, that allow participants to either run or run-and-ride, taking turns but staying together the entire race. If you and your pal opt to run the entire way, you'll cover 3 to 4 miles and tackle 8 to 10 obstacles; if you go for the run-bike race, you run while your friend rides, then switch back and forth during the 6- to 7-mile race that has five obstacles. Both races culminate by crossing a 50-foot mud pit. Eight races nationwide.

Warrior Dash: You've probably heard of this dandy, which the organizers bill as the "world's largest running series" (despite its website being heavy on photos and video, lite on details). The course is loaded with obstacles, including the infamous fire that participants jump over. Costumes are strongly encouraged, and each over-21 participant gets a beer post-race. This nationwide series has a slew of race locations.



16 responses to “Five Out-There Race Series

  1. I just did the Run For Your Lives Zombie Infested 5k. They held it on the same course as my local Warrior Dash, but there are people who are dressed up as zombies and you have to run by them. You wear a flag football belt, and if the zombies manage to grab all your flags, you become “infected” and are “dead” at the end of the race. If you have at least one flag left, you survived the zombie apocalypse!

  2. Did the Hero Rush event in Maryland and it was awesome! Better than any other obstacle races I’ve done. This race is definitely a must try! Plus it supports great charities!

  3. We just did run for your lives- the obstacle race where you are chased by zombies- told my husband he owed me a chick flick for doing it with him, so don’t tell him how much fun I had! Honestly was a little scare at first, but it was really fun. Beer, BBQ, and music afterwards.
    He signed us up for the color run next month too- looking forward to it!

  4. All signed up to complete the Spartan Race trifecta: SoCal Superwas in January, Utah Beast at the end of June, and the Malibu Sprint in December. However, don’t forget relays as well! Just completed my first Ragnar in April and am super excited to do another in the fall! These also offer a free beer and have the most awesome medals… A bottle opener!

  5. Im doing the colour run in Nashville in October with my 9 year old son. My second race and his first! Can’t wait!

  6. Doing the color run in Indianapolis in July- can’t wait! Just did the Dirty Girl Mud Run and in June is the Tap N Run (4K with beer chug at each K lol). Then in September- Ragnar Relay- Napa Valley. Will be my 3rd Ragnar- and I absolutely encourage you all to do one!

  7. I’ve done a couple of local mud runs near my home city (Savannah,Ga) and have talked myself into registerin for the Tough Mudder in April 2013… 12 miles of mud and obstacles! I think I might be a wee bit cray cray! 😉

  8. Did the So Cal Color Run and LOVED it! So much fun!!! Also recently did a Gladiator Rock n Run (mud/obstacle) and it was also a TON of fun! Signed up for another Color Run with my hubby in the fall and I can’t wait to do it again!

  9. I’m doing the Color Run this October with some girlfriends. Very excited =) Also planning on the Tough Mudder next year with hubby. I was hoping he would go for doing it this September in Maryland, but we’ve already got some pretty $$ fall races on the calendar.

  10. Did the “Dirty Girl” mud run last year…a great day out to celebrate women! Nothing like a good mud run where you are surrounded by thousands of awesome (mother) runners!

    Looking forward to the color run this saturday in Denver!! 🙂

  11. Muddy Buddy is a TON of muddy fun and I am really looking forward to the Color Run this fall in the Bay Area! I hear the Tough Mudder series is, as the name implies, more *tough* than fun but getting through any sort of obstacle race with a lot of dirt is bound to be awesome!

    Also, I’ve read about Zombie Runs, where zombies literally chase you the whole race!!! While I would love to get some practice for a possible zombie apocalypse, they’re not in my area. Darn.

  12. I did the Muddy Buddy with my husband two summers ago–it was REALLY fun–I’d absolutely be up for an even longer one. That said, I recently read that there’s one race series that involves, gulp, electric shocks. I’m fine for some reason with fire pits, climbing walls, crawling, getting soaked–but I would NEVER sign up for electric shocks. I guess I found my BAMR limit?!

  13. You can’t forget about Tough Mudder! That’s the toughest one of ’em all! Doing it again this year in September. Then there’s also Dirty Girl which is women only and you can be as young as 14 to participate.

  14. I’m doing a Spartan Sprint this year. I think it’s supposed to be like the Warrior Dash. I did The Dirty Dash last year and had a blast (though I was secretly terrified there was animal poo in the water obstacles since the race was taking place on the fair grounds in Billings, MT).

  15. I just recently did the color run. It was a lot of fun. The Foam Fest sounds fun but I am afraid of getting soap in my eyes. I wear contacts. LOL!

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