Roaring ATVs charge up Southwest Desert sand dunes in a storm of golden particles. Miles away, intrepid explorers rappel down the sheer cliffs of the Valley of Fire. Elsewhere, kayakers drift across the placid surface of Lake Mead in the sunset, and passengers inside a helicopter witness the majesty of the Grand Canyon from the breathtaking angle normally reserved for sightseeing birds. These seemingly disparate adventures have one thing in common: the people who imagined them. Each trek was dreamed up by the founders and guides of Awesome Adventures, who see the landscape of Nevada and Utah not as harsh and wild, but as a source of endless entertainment and education. The enthusiastic staffers—who specialize in recreations ranging from rock climbing to whitewater rafting—encourage visitors and locals alike to step outside the bounds of the city and explore exciting new vistas.
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.
Growing up in a small town, Tanya Carrier discovered a talent?and more importantly, a passion?for running at the age of 13. Running helped give her confidence and identity in high school. It helped see her through college, as the only member of her extended family to attend. It taught her discipline, which guided her in qualifying for the Boston Marathon, earning a master's degree in special education, and, ultimately, founding Downtown Runners. As she told Joe Schoenmann of the Las Vegas Sun, she created the organization to share her passion with others and to provide an outlet for people to exercise together.
Tanya knows that Las Vegas already has its fair share of 5Ks, so she planned her inaugural two for the off seasons. Her first race, the Sprinkler Sprint 5K, offsets summer's heat with watery obstacles, such as squirt guns, water cannons, and Slip 'n Slides. Her second 5K takes its inspiration from strip poker, encouraging runners to bundle up against the winter chill with clothes they'd like to donate to charity, losing a layer at predetermined stops along the route. For each item of clothing lost, they get a playing card to use in a poker hand at the end of the race. Winning hands can be used to claim prizes or bluff other racers into believing they haven't even started running yet.
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.
The National Veterans Day Run aims to serve as a nationwide demonstration of support for veterans and the men and women currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. Currently, the event includes organized races spread across 15 cities in early November, all united under a common cause. Across the country, these events can include a one-mile walk, a 5K and 11K race, and a half marathon, depending on the city. Proceeds will be used to allow veterans and active-duty military personnel to participate in these races at reduced rates.
For its 2014 event, the National Veterans Day Run has partnered with Operation Gratitude: a charitable organization that annually distributes more than 100,000 care packages to veterans, first responders, wounded warriors, caregivers, and active military personnel deployed overseas. Event coordinators encourage participants to support the efforts of this organization by pledging a donation during the registration process.
Halloween is a time for the zombies, ghouls, and werewolves of the world to shed their everyday human disguises and proudly walk hand in hand with their living counterparts. The Las Vegas Halloween Weekend Urban Obstacle Run honors this ghastly evening with a slew of spine-tingling activities. The 5K obstacle course is the main attraction, pitting participants against a variety of eerie physical challenges, including abandoned cars, corn fields, and barricades, as a cast of zombies tries to thwart their every move. As a reward for surviving the race without becoming infected, the after-party rolls out live music, food, drinks, prizes, and the occasional Elvis sighting. Those who arrive in Halloween attire are invited to compete in a costume contest, and at 8:30 p.m., Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" will fill the air as visitors line up to break the world record for the most people zombie dancing, which is currently held at 14,000.