Since 2009, the Kansas City Dirty Duo race has helped parlay mud into money for charity. Stretched across mostly flat terrain inside Kansas Speedway, the race sends teams of two biking and running around a course nearly six miles in length. Mystery obstacles add an extra challenge to each mile, and right before the finish line, there’s a massive 40-foot mud pit where teams can to play gloopy games of Marco Polo before completing the race. Kids as young as five years old can get in on the dirty dashing, too, by joining the one-mile Dirty Duo Jr. race. Once everyone has crossed their respective finish lines, the festivities continue with a post-race celebration featuring music, food, and cold refreshments.
Here are the sounds you'll hear at a typical marathon: huff, puff, wheeze, snort, repeat. Here are the sounds you'll hear at the Hit and Run 5K: sploosh, boing, splat, whoopee, and other onomatopoeias that haven't yet been invented. Less like a race and more like running through a living cartoon, the Hit and Run 5K's obstacle course of inflatable onslaughts has been known to "make ninjas cry."
Dodging, ducking, leaping, and balancing across a wet-and-rubbery battlefield, contestants face formidable foes such as the giant spinning balls of the Duck or Dive, the unreliable puffy poles of the Wobble Walk, the flying wet menaces at the Whacking Wall, and the Bouncy Bridge, which is kind of like London's Tower Bridge if it were any fun. All contestants receive their own spiffy T-shirts and matching headbands?a fetching ensemble that instantly deflates roving dodge balls?along with a hearty packet of deals from the race's sponsors.
At Fig Fitness, a staff of passionate, knowledgeable trainers motivates clients of all body types to burn fat and build muscle through strength, cardio, and resistance workouts. Rather than resting on weight machines and ellipticals, tight-knit classes gather in a simple, spartan gym space to tackle a functional-movement regimen of barbell hoisting, pull-ups, and working in 19th-century steel mills. Students train target areas with expert-led classes such as balance-building yoga sessions, or resistance and cardio conditioning kettle box courses.
Generally, adulthood forces people to give up childish pleasure, robbing them of the joy associated with playing in puddles, unearthing hidden treasure, and being silly in public. Sierra Adventure Sports wants grownups to regress, if only for a day. In service of that goal, the company organizes a variety of novel races that range from city scavenger hunts for the casual adventurer to creative triathlon courses for the ambitious athlete.
Scavenger Blitz, for instance, turns exploring one's city into a fun, fast-paced race scattered with clues, obstacle courses, and riddles. Racers in teams of at least two scour the urban jungle in search of 12 clues, which can include challenges, riddles, or orders that need be completed before crossing the finish line. Some send racers hunting for a snapshot in front of a landmark, whereas others challenge them to complete some special feat, such as conquering an obstacle course on stilts. The Mad Mud Run challenges participants to sprint and frolic through a dirty and deliciously fun outdoor obstacle course littered with manmade obstructions such as cargo nets, hills of hay bales, monkey bars, and slimy mud pits. Extreme Heat Adventure Races combine equal parts triathlon and scavenger hunt to create a 10?12K journey filled with running, river rafting, and mystery challenges that could pit teams against anything from blindfolded puzzles to wall climbs. Most Sierra Adventure Sports events encourage racers to compete in costumes of all types save for gremlins, which multiply in water and unfairly dominate the timed results.
As night falls, participants in the noncompetitive Rave Run pull on neon T-shirts, don glow-in-the dark glasses, and stuff their pockets with glow sticks. Spectators look on as the throng of illuminated runners, which includes kids and adults, make their way through a 5-kilometer course that winds through city streets.
The event culminates with an after party, where a DJ spin tunes and powerful lasers cast out beams that illuminate wide smiles and the secret locations of any lost arks in the vicinity. Fog machines and CO2 jets help create a high-adrenaline atmosphere as attendees dance with their glow-in-the-dark compatriots. All the fun is for a good cause; The Rave Run partners with a local charity in each participating city.
The Firefly Run combines the rigor of a 5K and a 10K race with the kaleidoscopic colors of a light show. LED beams and lasers pierce the dark, leading racers decked out in light-festooned gear through nighttime streets and parks to raise money for charity. Race coordinators keep competitors bright by encouraging them to wear costumes fitted with glow sticks, cartoonish helmets, light-up armbands, or any other light-themed decoration. Beyond the finish line, runners and audiences alike celebrate at a postrace dance party with live entertainment, visual effects, and a costume contest that rewards unique outfits and the athlete who was able to ward off the most gremlins.