At YMCA Camp Wa Wa Segowea, 500 acres of forest encircle placid Harmon Pond?and during the Wa Wa Splash and Dash Duathlon, athletes make the most of the terrain. At the race's start, they swim the 400 yards across the pond. Next, they run 3 miles through the forest, earning extra points for running up and over trees. When they finally reach the finish line, they stop for festivities featuring refreshments, a raffle, and an awards ceremony.
November 30 is an important day in American history?a day when, every year, people take to the streets and dance like zombies.?It's a tradition that began on that same date in 1982, when Michael Jackson released his iconic Thriller LP, prompting fans to celebrate each anniversary with flashmob dances inspired by the iconic video for the title track.?
Thriller Run expands these King of Pop-themed festivities by adding a race to the mix.?Just going to the starting point's kiosk is a spooky yet campy experience. As athletes sign up for race waves, they mingle with zombies, dancing ghosts, and normal-looking people who could very well be werewolves. Then, after warming up to beats from local DJs, they're off and running to the tunes of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, with an inevitable flash mob later in the day.
The Fitathlon Challenge blends the format and philosophy of decathlons and triathlons with the accessibility of a 5K. Great for all fitness levels, the event divides participants into four categories—Newbie, Beginner, Challenger, and Competitor. Separated into waves, runners move through a course fraught with obstacles designed to test strength, endurance, athleticism, and mental toughness. These obstacles include tire flips, wall climbs, and hill sprints that leave bodies sweaty and fatigued and minds feelings as confused as a fish in a geology class. Those competing in the Competitor division are eligible for cash and prizes awarded to the top three finishers in the male and female groups. A portion of all proceeds goes to benefit a local charity.
In memory of MPO Peter J. Lavery and Officer Ciara McDermott, The Race to End Domestic Violence honors the sacrifice of uniformed police officers and those escaping domestic violence. On December 30, Master Police Officer Peter J. Lavery, the youngest of three police officer brothers, was fatally shot while responding to a domestic disturbance call. His memory serves as the inspiration for the 5K of his namesake that takes runners and walkers through off-road dirt trails and grass to raise funds for domestic violence support groups. Additionally, the race raises funds to support the Peter J. Lavery Memorial Scholarship Fund, which aids those seeking an education in law enforcement or criminal justice.
Throngs of excited runners crouch along the starting line, all dressed in pristine white T-shirts. As the Color in Motion 5K begins, the sea of bodies sets off along the course, where handfuls of purple-, blue-, and yellow-colored powder start flying in from the sidelines. The safe concoction of cornstarch and dye sprinkles onto faces, shirts, shorts, and skin, dressing runners in a technicolor haze. Teams or individuals make their way through the 5K course, and finish the race wearing a pallet of washable and biodegradable paint. Each race partners and benefits local charities, with racers running individually, in teams, or sponsored by their favorite Crayola color.
Climbing up a 12-foot cargo net. Clambering up inclined walls. Slithering through darkened tunnels. These might sound like the keys to escaping a medieval fortress, but really, they're three of the 15+ feats required to complete the five-mile Renegade Run. Its obstacle-studded course winds through a park, sometimes sticking to paved trails, other times cutting through rough terrain laden with exposed tree roots, rocks, and challenging hills.
Reaching the finish line doesn't just mean conquering a major physical challenge, either?it also means doing good for the community. Proceeds from the race help raise awareness of type 1 diabetes. Proceeds also help fund research on the disease at the Faustman Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.