Even before she became a certified trainer, Laurie Henderson led and inspired her fellow athletes as the captain of the women's Central Michigan basketball team. She then carried her passion for guiding others through a master's of exercise science from Kent State University, and today she continues her mission at Fly Dog Fitness.
Laurie's boot camps know no limits, taking place outdoors, in the water, and on dry land. She uses standard exercise equipment and park benches, yoga mats and soft grass. She gets her students to work up a sweat whether it's sunny or dark—even in inclement weather.
Electric Foam 5K isn't measured by time, but by bubbles and beats per minute. Foam cannons and speakers line the roughly three-mile course, keeping pulse rates high with booming EDM anthems. By night, murals of lights and tree installations help guide participants of all ages as they run, walk, dance, or let their moms push their strollers to the finish line. Everyone is free to go at their own pace, and encouraged to dress in their most flamboyant costumes. At the finish line, they won't be greeted with a finish time or the disappointed glare of their P.E. teacher, but with an after-party of live DJs spinning such artists as Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, David Guetta, and others?all before one last avalanche of foam engulfs the dancing throngs.
Clean freaks aren?t welcome at the Mega Mud Run Challenge. The 5K race is full of obstacles that grow increasingly sloppy as stampedes of booted runners stir up chunks of turf. In addition to posing standard race challenges to endurance and speed, the rugged trail forces racers to crawl under nets through marsh grass, walk tightropes suspended over tidal creek mud, and scale a 17-foot knotted rope without the use of a hovercraft.
Racers can compete as individuals or in teams of four. For foursomes, two members must fireman's-carry their other teammates for the final 100-yard stretch, so they should prepare by practicing their carrying form and refraining from eating lead for breakfast. After the race, guests can unwind with beer and food?cash only?as an awards ceremony honors the top finishers.
Whether you know it or not, you've probably already spent some time preparing for Roundhouse Racing's 5K Foam Fest. Perhaps you've zoomed down a playground slide? Or dived onto a backyard Slip 'N Slide? Grownup versions of these childhood challenges make up many of the 15?30 obstacles in this 5K race, challenging contestants to slide down a 40-foot "Death Drop" and skid across an impressive 50-foot Slip 'N Slide.
Running through them all are pits and pools of foam and mud, as far as the eye can see. Thankfully, the challenges bring ample rewards at the finish line?namely a medal, a beer, unlimited temporary tattoos, and still more messy activities. Away from the race, participants can leap into foam pits while kids bound inside bounce houses, gleefully imagining what kind of rug would really tie the place together.
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.
The Dirty Girl Mud Run—a women-only 5K for all ages and athletic abilities—traverses an obstacle course plotted across mud-soaked terrain. Eschewing the pressure of a traditional 5K, the noncompetitive, un-timed event focuses on camaraderie—women are encouraged to form teams and help each other to the finish line. The course pushes participants to endeavor beyond their comfort zone by tackling hills, puddles, and runaway speed bumps. Music and adult beverages liven the party, and Dirty Girl supports women fighting breast cancer by donating a portion of each entry fee to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.