The Dirty Dash isn't the kind of race where runners try to set a new record. There are no ribbons or trophies for the first runner across the finish line either. That's because the real fun of this race isn't in winning, it's in the actual running itself. And watching groups of costumed adults play in the mud, of course.
Part light-hearted race, part military-style obstacle course, The Dirty Dash challenges runners with a course strewn with muddy obstacles with a focus on fun. In order to reach the finish, runners will have to hop over hay bales in mud pits, navigate rows and rows of tires set in wet soil, and even launch themselves down a foamy, 175-foot slip-n-slide. Besides the ultimate reward?the opportunity to spend a day in the mud?each participant also gets a t-shirt, pig tattoo, bandana, and pig decal, as well as a perfect excuse to visit their favorite dry cleaner.
Project Mud might remind adults of the fun they had as a child—running in an open field, sliding into a muddy pond, and crawling through a mud-filled tunnel. The Project Mud 5K challenges individual competitors to drudge their way through 18 mud-covered obstacles in a bid to make their way to the finish line. Those who cross the checkered line celebrate with fellow racers and spectators alike during a lively after party, where live bands and DJs inspire crowds to dance while food vendors serve fresh dishes and cold beer. Proceeds from each event help fund charities in each city, ensuring money collected goes to a good cause instead of serving as fodder for thieving tooth fairies.
When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. Adele Fridman, founder of MetaBody, created a real-life version of that ticket with her MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
Runners lace up for a half-marathon quest through some of Stark County's most splendorous scenery. Launching from the Massillon Recreational Center, the marathon charters along the Cuyahoga river and across 3 miles of undulating hills before the final stretch—the flat and steadfast terrain of the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath—where runners gape at natural and manmade marvels before dashing across the finish line at the Second Sole shoe store.
Equipment: TRX, free weights, kettle bells, battle ropes, speed and agility equipment
Average class length: 30-60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Mix of indoor and outdoor classes
Good for beginners: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Pro Tip: Come through the door with a personal goal in mind to achieve at each session.
The eco-stewards at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes work to conserve a natural bundle of lakes, streams, marshes, fields, ravines, and forests on the lush site's 20 acres, in addition to teaching environmental-education classes and hosting community-building events. The household membership contributes to the cause and nets families a grab bag of nature-center goodies, including discounts on programs and workshops, facility rentals, and early registration for all outdoor adventure camps. Lapsed naturalists can hopscotch along two trails, where flora such as sycamores, hickory, and sassafras surround the habitats of raccoons, red-tailed hawks, red foxes, Redd Foxx, and salamanders. Or feel free to spy on the flight patterns of local birds; the Audubon Society dubbed Shaker Lakes as an Important Bird Area for its population of autonomous aviators.