The idea that running should be fun is the philosophy behind Run Lehigh Valley, an organization that pairs runners of all levels with running events. Whether the races include giveaways or beer, or just start off with a quirky premise, such as a zombie 5K where runners dress as the undead or a Christmas-themed race where runners dress like undead Santas, all of the events check pretention at the starting line. For their latest venture, Runners Escape, Run Lehigh Valley gathers people for out-of-town races, giving like-minded pavement-pounders a chance to meet friends.
The Run Diva, longtime running coach Alicia VanDerSluis, wants to get people off the couch. She believes that anyone can transform their sedentary lifestyle into an active one, and she aims to turn her trainees into enthusiastic, active joggers. In programs that can last as long as 12 weeks, the Army veteran takes a multifaceted approach to training new runners, offering tips and techniques and suggesting running gear. As runners improve, she offers them new challenges, encouraging them all the way. Before they know it, athletes will able to run for a full 30 minutes or even take part in a 5K race.
Extreme athletes banded together to design Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Trimax Endurance Sports challenges everyday athletes to accomplish extraordinary feats of strength and endurance, with races such as the Bald Bear Triathlon, the Xterra Dirty Grizzly, and the Keystone State Triathlon. Participants put their body to the test, breaking past their own self-doubt and limitations as they swim, bike, sprint, and teleport to glory. As runners earn accolades and heaps of praise, they also admire the stunning natural beauty of Pennsylvania wilderness, with races sending athletes through woodsy locales such as Gifford Pinchot State Park and Bear Creek Mountain Resort.
Monkey bars, rope climbs, tires, and cargo netting adorn the expansive space inside WarriorFit Performance, where dedicated and certified coaches motivate their clients to attempt unconventional exercises in order to challenge both their minds and their bodies. They organize targeted programs, such as boot camp designed for women and a tactical strength and conditioning program for first responders, along with camps for specific athletes such as quarterbacks or entire teams. In addition to group workouts, WarriorFit offers personal-training packages for individuals.
The Zombie Mud Run finally gives people an incentive to exercise—the survival of their species. Amid forested trails, muddy creeks, and challenging obstacles, participants of this post-apocalyptic 5K face off to either save the human race or feast on human flesh, respectively. Clad in a flag-football belt with three flags that represent their brains, heart, and entrails, human participants race to get themselves and their fellow living athletes to the Green Zone, which grants salvation in the form of food, water, music, and beer. Meanwhile, costumed zombies—each of whom are either slow-moving “creepers” or fast-moving “leapers”—positioned along the race course pursue the humans to devour their organs or simply return that contact lens they dropped a mile ago. Human runners who reach the Green Zone with at least one of their flags survive.