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.
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.
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.
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.
Las Vegas Running Tours lets exercisers ditch their treadmills and escape the gym completely with running and walking adventures around Sin City. Founded by avid runner and tour guide Jimmy Edwards, the company offers a way to explore that's more interesting than riding in a car or a stranger’s baby stroller. Participants can get a taste of the original Las Vegas while pounding the pavement during the downtown tour, which features the famed Fremont Street, Wedding Chapel Row, and Neon Boneyard. Or, they can break away from busy streets while weaving atop the shaded trails of Mt. Charleston. In addition to its tours, Las Vegas Running Tours also offers year-round training for recreational runners, walkers, and athletes.
Like a city street after every nearby car wash has malfunctioned, The Bubble Run welcomes participants to play in light, glistening foam. Runners, walkers, jumpers, and skippers cruise their way through five easygoing, untimed kilometers, each marked with a 6-foot-deep bog brimming with colorful foam and floating bubbles. Bubbleteers armed with foam-slinging cannons ensure that each adventurer receives a healthy dose of bubbles as they pass, running safely thanks to the dry makeup of the foam solution used. Racers clad in white may start clean as a whistle, but by the time they cross the finish line, they’re dyed like a rainbow, finally readying them to sneak up on a leprechaun. Then the fun keeps going—live DJs and bubble cannons amp up afterparties to celebrate runners' efforts. Proceeds from each race benefit local charities.