Climbing in Lakeland

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During the Backwoods Challenge, runners shimmy through a tunnel of mud, step across a balance beam, army-crawl under barbed wire, and shoot through a slide before plunging into a pond. And for some of them, there isn't even a prize on the line. In addition to frequent competitive races, Backwoods Challenge also hosts fun runs and mud-run training sessions. Either way, the 5K course, which pushes bodies and minds to the brink, forces participants to confront more than 25 obstacles that test their physical prowess. Only those who aren't afraid to get down and dirty in the mud can conquer all of the manmade and natural obstacles.

16000 Rockridge Road
Polk City,
FL
US

Established: 2010

Reservations/Appointments: Recommended

Staff Size: 2?10 people

Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Quantity and Quality of Obstacles.

Recommended Age Group: Adults

Pick a verb?crawl, climb, drag, lift, sprint?and chances are, you'll be executing it during a US Obstacle Racing event. Throughout the year, US Obstacle Racing bounces around the country organizing obstacle-laden races on beaches, in the mountains, across flatlands, and just about anywhere in nature that's accessible and not yet overrun by Sasquatches.

The organization hosts three styles of events, each more extreme than the last. Their Mud Race 5K series challenges competitors of all abilities with a grimy course peppered with more than 25 obstacles, such as climbing walls, barbed wire, hurdles, and rope walks. However, seasoned racers can truly test themselves with the OCR 100?a course riddled with 100 obstacles, designed specifically for experienced athletes?or the Elite Legend 24?a 24-hour gauntlet of obstacles and puzzles that rewards winners with a gigantic cash prize.

Q&A with Fred, Event Coordinator

When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?

Due to our long history in the Adventure Race industry. The executives of our company were hired to consult and develop obstacles for some of the first obstacle course race companies in the USA. We wanted to improve on the business model, increase the number of obstacles and up the level of challenge instead of decreasing the number like they are doing.

What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?

We have one hundred obstacles in this race, which makes it the largest obstacle course race in the world.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?

This course has a $10,000.00 first place challenge.

Have you ever been a patron of your own business? If so, what was the most enjoyable part?

Yes, the obstacles are a real challenge.

6311 Burts Road
Tampa,
FL
US

The Tampa Bay Seafood Festival brings together local merchants and great music for a weekend of celebration that benefits the Friends of Tampa Recreation. Refreshments scheduled to make an appearance include award-winning chowder from Chowder Heads, crab bites and fish tacos from Coastal Crab Company, and Mama Jugs' tasty iced tea. Les Dudek headlines the musical schedule on Saturday, filling the air with his original blues tunes, and the melodious four-person harmonies from Mo' Gravy kick off Sunday's festivities, followed up by The Shakes Society, The Bobby Friss Band, and Doug the reggae seagull.

705 Channelside Drive
Tampa,
FL
US

Cupids Bar Crawl invites ladies and gentlemen?single or paired up?to express their devotion or disdain for the holiday of lovers by hitting eight hot spots across the city. The crawl begins at 6:30 p.m. at Tequilas on Valentine's Day, and ventures to seven other locations, where participants revel in free shots and swag from Fireball Whisky. At the end of the three-hour crawl, partiers return to Tequilas to soak up the libations with light food and to nurse any wounds from Cupid's arrow. Proceeds from Cupids Bar Crawl benefit the Michael Agana Memorial Scholarship at USF.

4207 South Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa,
FL
US

During the Superhero Scramble, racers of all fitness levels tear across arduous terrain littered with body- and mind-challenging obstacles. Participants must wade through mud and, to reach the finish line, persevere through a barrage of Super Slime generously donated by retired Ghostbusters.

Upon completing the race, athletes ride their endorphin high into a party stocked with ice-cold beer. There, they can mingle with other contestants, sway to live music, and see awards doled out to the fastest runners in each age bracket. Male and female Scramble Gamble contestants compete for prizes that can cover the cost of replacing the engines in their sneakers. The benefits of the race extend beyond the Gamble winners, too?the organizers donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.

4000 State Road 33
Clermont,
FL
US

Visitors to Florida EcoSafaris get a close look at the state's distinct flora and fauna during thrilling outdoor adventures. The Coach Safari whisks riders on a two-hour open-air jaunt through a 4,700-acre wildlife-conservation area rich with streams and forests. Naturalist guides delve into the natural history of the region's nine ecosystems, which house species including alligators, Florida panthers, and herds of roving photo opportunities. Visitors can also take in sweeping views of the nearby wetlands and their many residents, including countless kinds of birds and white-tailed deer. For equestrian adventurers, safaris on horseback take riders through scenic trails used by Native Americans in the 1500s.

Florida EcoSafaris' EcoPark adds to its Cypress Canopy Cycle adventure-which sends visitors rolling along steel cables in a suspended, pedal-powered cart that doubles as a spy machine for squirrels-with five new and recently renovated zipline adventures. Guests fly high through the air at 30 miles per hour with the Peregrine Plunge and Zipline Safari or leap off 55- or 68-feet platforms during controlled-free-fall adventures. No matter what activity guests participate in, Florida EcoSafaris donates a portion of all proceeds to the Allen Broussard Conservancy, an agency dedicated to the preservation of Florida's ecosystems and wildlife.

4755 N Kenansville Rd
Saint Cloud,
FL
US