Generally, adulthood forces people to give up childish pleasures, robbing them of the joy associated with playing in puddles, unearthing hidden treasure, and being silly in public. Sierra Adventure Sports wants grownups to regress, if only for a day. In service of that goal, the company organizes a variety of novel races that range from city scavenger hunts for the casual adventurer to creative triathlon courses for the ambitious athlete.
The Mad Mud Run, for instance, challenges participants to sprint and frolic through a dirty and deliciously fun outdoor obstacle course littered with manmade obstructions such as cargo nets, hills of hay bales, monkey bars, and slimy mud pits. Extreme Heat Adventure Races combine equal parts triathlon and scavenger hunt to create a 10?12K journey filled with running, river rafting, and mystery challenges that could pit teams against anything from blindfolded puzzles to wall climbs. Most Sierra Adventure Sports events encourage racers to compete in costumes of all types save for gremlins, which multiply in water and unfairly dominate the timed results.
Not all runners are morning people, eagerly warming up before the latest crack-of-dawn race event. Luckily, the night owls have their own outlet: The Glo Run. The fluorescent 5K unleashes its participants into the dwindling light of the evening armed with glow sticks, glow-in-the dark bracelets, and light-up sunglasses. This illuminating paraphernalia helps them navigate the shadowy corners of the course, which features thumping music, lighting effects, and squirrels equipped with laser-beam eyes. At the finish line, runners and walkers can relish another staple of nighttime parties, dancing the evening away to rollicking tunes spun by a live DJ.
Runners embarking on the Honky Tonk Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K won't need headphones to hear twangy country tunes. That’s because the hilly Wisconsin Dells course features live bands and DJs along the route to keep participants energized as they race toward the finish line. The party-like atmosphere doesn’t end with the race, as a full-blown celebration complete with food, beer, and line dancing awaits runners and their family and friends. Aside from age-group awards for the top three males and females in each race, finish-line gifts include a Honky Tonk cowboy hat and goodie bag for all participants, a finisher-medal buckle for marathoners and half marathoners, and an ice bath for those who decided to pogo stick the entire 26.2 miles. The Honky Tonk marathon and half-marathon course is USA Track & Field certified and is also a Boston Marathon qualifier.
Keen Fox Events hosts a variety of fun events that help burn calories and do some good. The Wicked-Fun 1990s Run encourages runners to race while traveling back in time to the era of grunge, virtual pets, and boy bands. In addition the workout and community-wide good cheer, some of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Special Olympics.
After dropping 136 and 89 pounds respectively on season 5 of NBC's The Biggest Loser, son-and-mom duo Dan and Jackie Evans hit the race circuit, promoting health and wellness as they ran more than 20 half-marathons. Today, the Evans continue their odyssey, traveling across the country to speak at The Biggest Loser RunWalk races, in which first-time runners and hardcore athletes alike can simply have fun exercising or take the first steps on their own path toward physical fitness. A festive atmosphere enlivens each race, from the scenic routes and live entertainment at the finish to the squeaking of running shoes cheering from the sidelines.
Halloween's tricks and treats meet heartwarming altruism as the McHenry Police Officers Association unveils the first annual Running Scared 5K for Special Olympics Illinois. The fun run—which also doubles as a fun walk, stroll, or lollygag if the participants choose—sends costumed friends and families on a trek from scenic Shamrock Farms Park through the subdivision of Legends Lake. Along the paved trail, racers can admire, giggle, and gasp at the array of swaying Halloween apparel before crossing the finish line. All proceeds go directly to Special Olympics Illinois, which enables athletes with disabilities to train and compete in sports events.