Extreme athletes banded together to design Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
The ghastly costumes and decorations trimming The Best Halloween Store Ever’s shelves breathe afterlife into the live actors and haunting façades of Danny’s Dungeon. Spooky thespians lurk behind glowing brick-and-mortar walls and wait to tear down the brave fronts of all who pass. Danny's staff can turn on the house lights to show timid youngsters that monsters are merely men in costumes and gargoyles merely shaved kittens. Those who emerge from Danny’s Dungeon—without surrendering to one of many emergency exits—break free into The Best Halloween Store Ever, where they collect a free reward. Before and after romps through the ghostly crypt, guests can join the party outside, munching handheld delights from a food truck and busting moves to a live DJ’s beats, which pulsate like the heart of a nervous traffic light.
Featured on Dr. Phil and The Biggest Loser and with clients that include numerous Fortune 500 companies, Fulcrum Adventures designs team-building and leadership programs that aim to help organizations and individuals reach their full potential. Teams work together to complete high and low ropes courses, scale up climbing walls, and complete custom workshops, each highlighting the spectrum of valuable ways people can work and learn together. The outfit takes care to ensure that the client's physical and emotional safety is never in jeopardy, meaning no judgmental environments or trust falls over snake pits.
Fitness classes that incorporate suspension-training gear allow patrons at A.R.E.A. 44 to tone muscles left slack by less-advanced gym equipment, and kickboxing or CrossFit classes burn through calories. Students can also opt for a specialty workout, such as pole dancing or Buti fitness, which combines the influences of Brazilian funk, hip-hop, urban Miami dance, and African tribal dance. Personal trainers, some of whom draw from fitness techniques they learned while serving in the Air Force or the US Coast Guard, help clients to get in shape with one-on-one attention.
Blaine Eastcott's love of the outdoors is rooted in fond childhood memories of family camping trips. On one such trip, Blaine's teenage self impulsively climbed a 100-foot rock only to soon find himself struck by panic high up on the rock face. He was paralyzed by fear, until a surge of adrenaline gave him the courage needed to scramble the final 10 feet up. This ordeal spurred him to take rock-climbing classes?and eventually led to his current position as the president of Rockreation. His three adrenaline-inducing arenas challenge climbers of all skill levels with more than 28,500 total square feet of climbing terrain, composed of jagged cliffs, bouldering nooks, and craggy archways. The faux-mountain range mimics the conditions of real rocks with indentions, overhangs, and eagle's nests.
The gyms devote one-third of their space to a bouldering area, which blends into a top-rope course fraught with varying angles, and a large lead area with an overhanging arch. Across these angles, passionate instructors with extensive outdoors experience?and a background in conversational mountain goat?guide students through the Fight Gravity program. The three-class series focuses on belaying basics, and progresses through technique instruction and bouldering. They also lead seasonal kids' camps where tiny humans can explore the routes, or plunge on a big swing and zipline. The gyms also have a separate area with machines, traditional weights, and cardio equipment for members who want to not only climb rocks, but also lift heavy ones above their heads.