At the 12k's of Christmas, a peloton of Santas and seasonally-dressed runners race through the Gilbert's Freestone District Park. All participants receive a Santa hat to wear, and are encouraged to dress up further with colorful socks, an elf costume, or felt reindeer horns. Both 6K and 12K races feature a flat, mainly packed-gravel trail with carolers set up at every kilometer. Chronotrack chips track progress, and race organizers issue awards for the top finishers in each age bracket as well as best costumes. The race also offers a 1.2 K Santa "Sled" run, where racers are encouraged to walk a stroller or enter a souped-up wagon pulled by their pets. By partnering with adoption groups and shelters, the event operates Santa's Pet Village, which helps connects stray pets with new families.
At Guru Momma's studio, yogis strip away the stumbling blocks that traditionally stand between busy moms and their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Onsite childcare services crowdsource temporary mothering duties to a caring team of moms from the Guru Momma community. For kids who would rather participate than sit on the sidelines, kids yoga and mommy-and-me classes give tykes the chance to strengthen their growing bodies and earn hours towards earning their flying-yoga-mat permits. While the power and restorative yoga classes offload a multitude of benefits for practitioners, including better flexibility, balance, and mental clarity, Guru Momma also offers other holistic healing services such as massage, reiki, and nutrition consultations.
Urban Dare Adventure Race is a fast-paced competition that challenges two-person teams to decipher clues, navigate the city, and perform playful stunts. A dozen trivia-based clues lead contestants to checkpoints all over Phoenix, where they must use a camera to document their presence and, in some cases, complete challenges, such as scaling a wall or solving a puzzle. In addition to running and walking, contestants may use public transportation to move from checkpoint to checkpoint, though taxis, cars, and bikes are off-limits. Races generally last less than four hours, and the winning team receives free entry to the Super Dare, a cruise-based take on the Urban Dare concept that features a $5,000 grand prize. Proceeds from the race will be used to help battle breast cancer.
The Neon Run brings the age-old traditions of running competitions into the 21st century, using a 5K course built around glow stations, from which a water-based formula rains down on runners. The liquid radiates light; coupled with the black lights and LED along the route, it creates a surreal confusion of color. The race culminates in a Neon Festival, in which each runner is armed with a personal bottle of glow paint or powder.
As the sun sets and darkness blankets the city, runners, joggers, and walkers of all ages run, jog, or walk through the Neon Splash Dash, a luminescent jaunt that benefits a chosen charity partner. To the soundtrack of adrenaline-boosting tunes, participants clad in white T-shirts make their way through four glow zones, each filled with volunteers armed with a different color of intense UV glow water. Once across the finish line, they'll attend the After Glow Party, which bathes them in the otherworldly illumination of black lights and the accompanying joy of wearing a self-satisfied smile as they play games and enjoy entertainment for the rest of the night.
For once, it’s OK to play in the mud: in each of the Terrain Mud Runs, racers compete in a challenging race through the muck of a 3- or 5-mile obstacle course. Before the race starts, you’ll store a clean change of clothes in a gear tent. Put on a race T-shirt (provided to each participant), affix a timing computer chip to your shoe, and then head to the starting line to race against the others, climbing on monkey bars, crawling through tubes, scaling cargo nets, and dodging soap salesmen. At the end of the course, you’ll head to the terrain village for an afterparty.
The awards don’t end there: the organizers hand out more specialized awards, such as fastest man and fastest woman in different age groups, rewards for best-dressed teams, and an award for the largest team. You’ll also get to enjoy beer, food, and music with family, friends, and other racers.
When participants at The Retro Run 5K take their marks, they're more likely to be taken for Cyndi Lauper than a marathon runner. That's because the 3-mile run eschews the put-ons of most modern races: there are no times collected, and those with the best '60s, '70s, or '80s costumes are the ones destined to win the big prize—in the post-race costume competition, anyway. Neon spandex, fanny packs, and fingerless gloves are a hot choice among racers, but even if you're just there in a T-shirt and shorts, the staff will hook you up with a free pair of sunglasses to help you look the part. After the race, runners, walkers, and even pets celebrate with an '80s-themed festival complete with top party music, a costume contest, and pyramid teams reenacting the fall of the Berlin Wall.