Running in Lake Wales

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The Gorilla Gauntlet is the type of obstacle course that relishes in defeating the most fit of competitors. Thirty two obstacles adorn the course, forcing racers to climb 8-foot-tall walls, swing on monkey bars, and flip heavy tires to reach the finish line. Guests have two tries for each obstacle, and earn a 10 burpee penalty for each incomplete feature. And the course is completely dry, meaning no mud, water, or personal rain clouds to cool down guests or long distances between obstacles to rest up.

2301 Lakeland Hills Boulevard
Lakeland,
FL
US

Despite what folklore says, most pirates didn't bury their treasure. The act of digging a deep hole, tossing a heavy chest into it, and then making a map to find it at a later time would have been difficult, to say the least. Though it's not much easier at the Pirate Booty Hunt, the fun run infused with a scavenger hunt leaves treasure at ground level. To find the prizes hidden along the 4-mile course, you have to best obstacles, mud, water, the other racers, and the space-time continuum—all while clad in your best pirate costume. Capping off the festive day, participants receive a medal, a T-shirt, and the reassurance of knowing the event benefits local charities.

5501 Varn Road
Plant City,
FL
US

In a zombie apocalypse, running might be the human race’s only hope. The organizers of The 5k Zombie Run understand this better than most—after all, their 5K obstacle course is infested with undead of its own. Each brave soul who decides to make a run for it begins the race with three health flags and tries to reach the finish line with at least one flag intact. That’s no easy task, of course. The course twists through approximately 3.1 miles of wooded trails and swamps, but the obstacles are kept as secret as Fort Knox’s collection of gold-plated presidential diaries. The zombies, on the other hand, are not: hordes of shambling ghouls haunt the course, pawing at health flags and attempting to infect runners before they can make it to safety. Those racers who finish with at least one flag live to brag another day. Zombies have their own contest: the ghoul with the best costume wins a prize, and all zombies can run the course themselves after fulfilling their undead duties.

17951 Hamilton Road
Dade City,
FL
US

There's no telling who you'll run into on the simply named Beer Crawl—past events have been attended by stormtroopers, cowboys, and even a brace of rarely spotted Waldos. Thanks to themed costume contests that run the gamut from neon '80s wear to masked superheroes, attendees of all stripes race or meander between trendy area venues. At each one, they enjoy free beer and drink specials as DJs spin popular tunes and supervise games such as Flip Cup or Figure Out What Channel the Game Is On. Participating bars include World of Beer, The Lodge, and MacDinton's, among many others.

2441 Kirkland Road
Dover,
FL
US

After training for weeks, runners take their positions at the starting line, wait for the signal, and adjust the regulation sombreros attached to the tops of their helmets. Upon hearing the starting gun, they all bolt forward—only to tumble into a pit that puts them neck deep in oozy, disgusting, glorious mud.

Participants in the American Mud Race replicate this scene as they take on a 3- to 4-mile mud-filled obstacle course, all in the effort to benefit wounded veterans through the Home at Last Project by West Orange Habitat for Humanity. Afterward, racers bring home their mud-caked clothing and costumes to take revenge against their bathtubs, or they can replace them at the race site with a free T-shirt. Food and drink wristbands entitle their wearers to barbecue lunches and beer at the after party, where live music and DJs provide a soundtrack for dancing.

19400 E Colonial Dr.
Orlando,
FL
US

Although it was the burst of light from a Polaroid flash bar that initially drew Aubrey James to the photo world, the photographer prefers to work with her subjects in natural light. During shoots, she follows couples, children, and families through the park or along the beach, capturing a sense of fun and relaxation that simply cannot be replicated in the studio. After sessions, Aubrey retouches images and provides clients with the option to purchase prints or digital images that can be shared with grandparents who live in the Internet now.

195 N. Rosalind Avenue
Orlando,
FL
US