On March 10, the unmistakable sound of scampering sneakers heralded the arrival of Peoria's first ever half-marathon. Divided into age groups ranging from children to senior citizens, participants followed a continuous, open, paved route along the New River Trail System in the first event of Peoria's inaugural race series. Instead of having to deal with the regular streets’ bustle of cars and escaped parade floats, runners will have sole ownership over the pavement during 11 events held throughout the year. All runners receive points for participating in each race and how they finish, with the top 100 point-earners entered in a prize lottery at the end of the Series. Some events also include abbreviated Tortoise & Hare Kids' Run courses that give kids a safe place to develop a love for running and stay active.
When participants at The Retro Run 5K take their marks, they're more likely to be taken for Cyndi Lauper than a marathon runner. That's because the 3-mile run eschews the put-ons of most modern races: there are no times collected, and those with the best '60s, '70s, or '80s costumes are the ones destined to win the big prize—in the post-race costume competition, anyway. Neon spandex, fanny packs, and fingerless gloves are a hot choice among racers, but even if you're just there in a T-shirt and shorts, the staff will hook you up with a free pair of sunglasses to help you look the part. After the race, runners, walkers, and even pets celebrate with an '80s-themed festival complete with top party music, a costume contest, and pyramid teams reenacting the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The creators of the The Colorful 5K – Graffiti Run use the term “run” very loosely. Less of a race, and more a celebration of the human spirit, The Colorful 5K – Graffiti Run encourages participants to dash, dance, prance, skip, cartwheel, or walk the course as they douse each other in vibrant hues that span the full spectrum. Each run also donates a portion of proceeds to a local charity, which range from Special Olympics affiliates and scholarship funds to city cleanup and beautification projects.
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.
If you see a group of pilgrims or zombies wandering your streets, you can take comfort in the fact that it's probably not a reenactment of the American Civil War. It's likely one of Ryfle Events' scavenger hunts, which sends costumed participants on a race that fuses physical challenges, clue solving, and urban exploration. Race planners award cash prizes to the winners, who can compete in a championship round at the end of the year.
The inspiring trainers at each MetaBody location lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment, ideal for beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use the instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Because the pass sets a 10-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimens by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.