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.
You might see Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman running down the street at the speed of a locomotive during the Capes and Shields Race. But don't go expecting to get a laundry list of problems solved by these superheroes?the themed races invite runners of all ages to dress up like their favorite crime fighters (or villains), capes and all. And as a reward for crossing the finish line, participants can grab high-protein shakes and a customized finisher medal before hitting the after party for prizes and give-aways. Proceeds from the Capes and Shields Race benefit charities across the United States, including Square One and Fallen Patriots.
For those who dream of taking on some of the nation's toughest extreme mud runs, Your First Mud Run is the perfect soggy training ground. More family-friendly and less aggressive than the aforementioned gauntlets, the Your First Mud Run series still offers the thrills of a 5K mud run, just with a lowercase k. Every Your First Mud Run race features two miles of wily challenges, which typically include scaling a 6-foot wall, hopscotching through the tires of destruction, slithering through the treacherous tubes, and mud-sliding across the finish line. Proceeds from every race benefit charities such as the Family Reach Foundation.
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.
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.
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.