In its inaugural year, That Dam Mud Run corrals energetic participants onto the sprawling grounds of Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area to test their endurance and determination in a 5K mud run. As they sprint along mud-laden roads, runners are faced with a brigade of professionally built obstacles that they must scale and conquer in the form of dirt mounds, tires, jump walls, and mud pits full of muddy mud people. After crossing the finish line, participants can cleanse themselves in one of the 30 onsite showers before swilling sips of craft brews in the beer garden, grooving along to live music, or perusing the bevy of eco-friendly booths during the Action Sports & Eco Fair. A portion of the proceeds go to the Gavin R. Stevens Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for those living with blindness due to Leber’s congenital amaurosis.
In the unusual parlance of the Hunger Runs 5K, runners are “dedications,” teams are “organizations,” spectators are “assemblies,” and the race is known simply as “the hunt.” The race’s creators, the “huntmakers,” devise a series of obstacles specifically designed to encourage teamwork and camaraderie, and they set up “challenge centers” demanding expert bow-and-arrow skills, simian climbing abilities, and courage in the face of flaming objects. Organizations that finish fastest or with the most points in their designated wave earn bragging rights, awards, and cheek pinches from their proud grandmothers. Dedications are strongly encouraged to wear fun costumes and comfortable sneakers and to come bearing team spirit and the will to win.
Coaches Robert and Euri Mills, the trainers at Club 26.2, have completed 57 and 8 marathons, respectively, and coached more than 3,000 runners and walkers along the way. Armed with invaluable experience in areas such as footwear, form and technique, hydration, and proper stretching, they coach athletes of all fitness levels toward their goals of training for runs of all distances, including 5K, 10K, half marathons, and full marathons. Of Robert and Euri’s students, 99% have crossed the finish line, and 80% of those were first-time runners.
Presented in part by Dan Clark, also known as Nitro, of American Gladiator fame, the Gladiator Rock'n Run is a unique and challenging event, pairing an obstacle-heavy running course and an attempt at breaking the record for the world’s longest mud pit with post-race entertainment, including beer, music, and food. Those prepared to race must dance through tires, army-crawl through mud, and clamber up rope ladders to avoid barrels thrown by giant apes. The roar of spectators rings throughout the course as bystanders cheer on runners to inspire strong finishes.
West Coast Boot Camp's Adrian Pietrariu is at his best during the heat of athletic competition. Not content with dominating opponents during taekwondo matches, Adrian assembled a team of seasoned instructors that now forms the core of WCBC’s training staff. Their signature boot camp meets in places such as beaches and parking lots to get hearts pumping and calories burning. Adrian also helps individuals unlock inner combatants with martial-arts classes, achieve their athletic aspirations with one-on-one coaching, and learn the difference between a basketball and an overripe cantaloupe with sport-specific training.
Run or Dye is making race running a little more colorful, one major city at a time. This 5K is divided up into four separate courses of varying lengths, each designated by a separate color––which also reflects the color of safe, eco-friendly powered dye the participants get splashed with. At the end of the race, they'll cross into the aptly-named Dye Zone—a polychromatic free-for-all, where fluorescent color is thrown freely from all sides, allowing runners to splash their fellow runners or get colorful revenge on their friends, family members, and any cranky art-history teachers that happen to be walking by.
Unlike some races that rank runners by time, Run or Dye only measures success in color and fun. While the safe-to-eat dyes should wash out of clothing, runners are encouraged to wear things they don't mind getting dirty, preferably in white, gray, or another neutral color to give the dyes maximum visibility.