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.
Skyward Adventures, Inc. invites visitors to don a harness and grab hold of a zipline bars, then hold tight as they careen through the forest canopy. Ten lines, a spaghetti bridge, and a log bridge constitute the zipline layout, a stretch that takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. Before setting off on their high-speed trip, however, each participant takes part in a safety discussion with the experienced guides, then hikes up to the practice area for some warm-up runs and experience with the proper technique.
Start Skydiving owes its ranking as the number-one skydiving location on dropzone.com to its staff of master skydivers, pilots, and instructors. The team navigates its aircraft thousands of feet in the air for tandem or AFF solo skydives, and the jumpers help novices in obtaining their own USPA B, C, or D licenses. Newly inducted divers can gear up with Start Skydiving’s online store, which carries everything from altimeters and flight-specific shirts to tickets for rides on hot-air balloons or twin-engine pterodactyls.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Forest Hills Country Club invites golfers of all skill levels to drive, chip, and putt their way around its private nine-hole course, buttressed by the Great Miami River and native forestation. The course measures 2,267 yards from the back tees and boasts five par 3s and four par 4s. Though it may not have any par 5s, Forest Hills makes up for distance in scoring difficulty, with just one par 3 measuring fewer than 150 yards and cups that sneeze every time a ball comes near them. After a round, players can visit the concession stand to replenish calories lost from swinging clubs or cartwheeling from hole to hole.
Michael Scoggins firmly believes that anyone—young, old, nimble, or clumsy—can become a great dancer. A talented dancer himself, Michael has spent more than 20 years on stages across the globe, performing in professional theaters, on television, and before the Japanese royal family. Today, he pulls from his years of training and experience to captain his own private dance studio, where he joins with a staff of fellow professional dancers to lead students of all abilities in a variety of partner-based dances. On the dance floors of local athletic clubs, community centers, and opera houses, instructors guide intimate groups of no more than five couples through swing dances, waltzes, and tangos. The teachers also conduct dance lessons for special events, including weddings, university parent nights, and musical civil-war reenactments.