In a zombie apocalypse, running might be the human race’s only hope. The organizers of The 5k Zombie Run understand this better than most—after all, their 5K obstacle course is infested with undead of its own. Each brave soul who decides to make a run for it begins the race with three health flags and tries to reach the finish line with at least one flag intact. That’s no easy task, of course. The course twists through approximately 3.1 miles of wooded trails and swamps, but the obstacles are kept as secret as Fort Knox’s collection of gold-plated presidential diaries. The zombies, on the other hand, are not: hordes of shambling ghouls haunt the course, pawing at health flags and attempting to infect runners before they can make it to safety. Those racers who finish with at least one flag live to brag another day. Zombies have their own contest: the ghoul with the best costume wins a prize, and all zombies can run the course themselves after fulfilling their undead duties.
As if distance and mud didn't present enough of a challenge for runners, Eye Mud Run's muddied 5K course is lined with obstacles. En route to the finish line, runners must scramble up climbing nets and wade through a knee-high mud pit that is home to a mischievous mud creature who thinks it's funny to untie people's shoes. Despite those challenges, the course wasn't designed to be so difficult that it couldn't be completed. Runners as young as 13 and up for the adult race can sign up for the 5K course, and those who don't meet the age requirement can try their hand at the kids' 1K run.
Public Safety Organization's Fall Festival honors the changing seasons with hayrides and a healthy dose of mud as the festival kicks off with a nearly 3-mile morning mud run. Afterward, families enjoy themselves until sundown, stopping by the petting zoo to bond with barnyard animals, and noshing on autumnal food and drinks.
There's no telling who you'll run into on the simply named Beer Crawl—past events have been attended by stormtroopers, cowboys, and even a brace of rarely spotted Waldos. Thanks to themed costume contests that run the gamut from neon '80s wear to masked superheroes, attendees of all stripes race or meander between trendy area venues. At each one, they enjoy free beer and drink specials as DJs spin popular tunes and supervise games such as Flip Cup or Figure Out What Channel the Game Is On. Participating bars include World of Beer, The Lodge, and MacDinton's, among many others.
To distinguish themselves from lesser mud-race organizers, the founders of Sqwish Sqwash Challenges aspired to design the most elite of mud courses. Thus, they turned to the most elite of men, the Navy SEALs. Drawing inspiration from their special-ops training, SEAL members help design Sqwish Sqwash's four course levels, adjusting the difficulty of each to accommodate beginner, intermediate, and hardened athletes alike. Obstacles range from flooded ditches to piles of mud-caked tractor tires, testing the physical and emotional endurance of both individuals and teams. Each day ends with a post-race party thrown by sponsor and partner Yuengling, plus an awards ceremony that recognizes top runners, the best costume, and anyone who can reach the finish line in an unstained white linen suit.
For those wanting to get into race shape, Sqwish Sqwash's website provides online training plans, as well as recommendations on where to get fit. Proceeds from each race go toward select charities such as the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Despite what folklore says, most pirates didn't bury their treasure. The act of digging a deep hole, tossing a heavy chest into it, and then making a map to find it at a later time would have been difficult, to say the least. Though it's not much easier at the Pirate Booty Hunt, the fun run infused with a scavenger hunt leaves treasure at ground level. To find the prizes hidden along the 4-mile course, you have to best obstacles, mud, water, the other racers, and the space-time continuum—all while clad in your best pirate costume. Capping off the festive day, participants receive a medal, a T-shirt, and the reassurance of knowing the event benefits local charities.