When Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he imagined a much-coveted golden ticket that granted access to myriad wonders and unveiled the inner workings of an entire industry. Adele Fridman, founder of MetaBody, created a real-life version of that ticket with her MetaBody Yoga & Fitness Pass, though it applies to fitness instead of candy. The pass grants access not to a single gym but to classes at a variety of local studios, specializing in everything from yoga to boot camp. With the freedom to move from location to location, students can sample different regimens, instructors, and styles of exercise to cobble together a program that fits their needs and goals. MetaBody's nutritionists supplement class packages by coaching clients in healthy eating, recipe cooking, and speed-reading nutrition-fact labels.
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.
Color Me Rad stages 5K races that transform runners into mobile rainbows by launching cheerful barrages of colored cornstarch. Each color station along the racetrack flings a new, nontoxic pigment at passersby, who wear white shirts to enhance the chromatic onslaught's costuming effects. Brilliant neon-blue, green, purple, and yellow clouds dapple participants along the way, and the race concludes with a prismatic finish-line finale as sprinters chuck colors at each other in celebration. The race's noncompetitive credo shifts the emphasis from speed to silliness, and a portion of its proceeds go to local charities.
Upon registration, each runner collects a Color Me Rad T-shirt, sunglasses, sponsor gifts, and a race bib. Though they don't receive a gift packet, runners younger than 8 years old can sprint for free, provided they have a waiver signed by a guardian and won't give in to demands for gold from confused leprechauns.
The Urban Dare Adventure Race is a fast-paced competition that challenges two-person teams to decipher clues, navigate the city, and perform playful stunts. Combining the bustle of a track meet with the brain-taxing sleuth work of a luge competition, the race uses a dozen trivia-based clues to lead contestants to checkpoints all over their sprawling metropolis. Location hunters reach their checkpoints by whatever means necessary, be it hopping a bus downtown, flying madly through a network of secret ziplines, or scuba-diving in a fountain for bus fare. At the mini destinations, racers must use a camera to document their presence or, in some cases, get their passports stamped after completing challenges that may include a climbing wall or solving a riddle.
When avid cyclist Robert Barroso wanted to supplement his athletic activities in between cycling events, he gave CrossFit a try. It didn?t take long for Robert to realize the benefits of the workout, and soon he opened his own gym, CrossFit Hunters Creek. He and other certified CrossFit coaches lead members through Olympic-style weightlifting, gymnastics, and plyometric exercises set in high-intensity, short intervals. The easily tailored exercises allow senior citizens suffering from heart disease and seasoned cage fighters to work out in the same class. So everyone is equally challenged, coaches can add or remove weights during front squats and have people flip tires large enough to fit a tractor or small enough to fit a Micro Machines car.
There's a secret to reaching the finish line of The Flavor Run: follow the smell and taste of fruit. That may be easier said than done, though, because fruity aromas will be everywhere. The 5K course is lined with stations where volunteers and flamethrower Randy Johnson launch handfuls of colorful fruit-flavored corn-starch powder at passing runners. The purpose of the flavoring? The run's FAQ page notes that "it doesn't make your mouth feel like you just ate a handful of sand." As for the purpose of the run, proceeds from the day's festivities, which include a post-race party, go toward helping local charities.