Black Diamond Store's roots stretch back to 1957, when 18-year-old Yvon Chouinard began pounding out mountain-climbing gear with a hammer and an anvil. Chouinard's gear was a quick hit within the climbing community, and today, some 50 years and a name change later, his backyard operation has prospered into a global corporation with offices on three continents.
Despite such profound growth, the company holds true to the values that helped it thrive. Its climbing and skiing products undergo rigorous testing to sustain the highest possible quality while utilizing the latest technologies to keep users one step ahead of the game. And, rather than testing gear on trembling, acrophobic mannequins, the company's employees try out Black Diamond products themselves—like the company's customers, they're climbers, skiers, and adventurists, too.
Rounding the corner, a runner sprints right into a face full of glow paint flung by some opponents. Typical 5K races frown upon glow-paint attacks, but the charitable Run the Rave wholeheartedly endorses such messy displays of camaraderie, posting paint-yourself stations at one-mile intervals along the race route. A stream of lights illumine the trail bordering Great Salt Lake beaches, and runners visually announce their arrival with four glow sticks distributed before the race. Once racers rush headlong across the finish line, an MC kicks off the festivities, doling out cash prizes to the runner with the best costume, winning female runner, and winning male runner with the best concealed hovercraft. Afterward, participants and their guests trot aglow over to the dance floor of The Great Saltair. The event's proceeds sponsor a local father of three as he fights a battle against muscular dystrophy.
2,270. That's how many 2011 Utah Undie Run attendees broke the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people wearing only underwear. These days, the annual 5k opens with a count to see if it can beat its 2011 milestone. Then, runners—whose shed clothing is donated to the homeless—sprint toward the finish line donning bras, boxers, and swimwear. In lieu of athletic clothes, they cover themselves in body paint that express things they'd like to see change in Utah, such as adding pepper to the state's notoriously salty lake.
Those messages might earn participants top prize in the body painting category of Utah Undie Run's costume contests, whose other categories include biggest undies and best wild card. The contests take place at the race's after party, a freewheeling festival of bounce houses, mechanical bull riding, and live DJs.
Equal parts footrace, obstacle course, and mud bath, each RunnerCross course pits participants against up to 15 kilometers of creative and slippery barriers. Runnable as an individual race or as a team relay, heats of 300 runners at a time quickly muddy themselves as they scramble over hay bales, scale rain-slicked hills, and traverse bogs atop a teetering rope bridge. ChronoTrack timing chips in the numbered bibs give runners accurate lap times for settling photo finishes or stacking against past 5Ks, such as George Washington's historic run from a mob of angry cherry farmers.
The sensation most people would associate with a race is that of tired, burning muscles. Not so with Sense 5K, which invites participants to take their time with a course that presents them with the opportunity to engage each of their five senses, during a race that's all about the journey. Though the sense stations vary from city to city, runners might experience a tunnel of light or listen to EDM tunes spun by a professional DJ. Race day T-shirts will be distributed to the all-ages participants, who are also invited to wear costumes or their favorite bearskin rug.
Sean Keil, the founder of Renaissance Movement LLC, discovered parkour at the ripe old age of 12. Eschewing his history as a professional dancer, he followed parkour full-force, traveling extensively to train with top parkour masters and even some of the inventors of the sport. Together he and his staff have developed a community in which they help students develop the necessary skills, both physical and mental, to practice the discipline of parkour in a safe environment.