Philadelphians and out-of-towners alike can find refuge from the city by way of the Forbidden Drive, a scenic expanse that extends from Chestnut Hill to Manayunk, yet feels miles away from urban life. As part of the Wissahickon Valley Park—which covers 1,800 acres—the wooded trail shelters joggers, cyclists, hikers, and even those on horseback as they explore the area's natural flora and fauna. A frequent spot for organized races, the trail is also marked by historic and geological sites.
The Friends of Wissahickson, or FOW, is a non-profit organization that started in 1924. With over 1,600 members, they work in conjunction with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to restore historical structures, eliminate invasive plants, monitor watershed management, and restore trails with the Sustainable Trails Initiative.
As the first weeks of spring revive the towering trees of Tyler State Park, runners savor the scenery of the season as they embark on the Bucks County Half Marathon. In the fifth annual event—with proceeds benefiting the Autism Cares Foundation—advanced runners, casual joggers, and even more causal walkers showcase their gaits as they take a double loop through Tyler Park. Rolling hills give runners a slight challenge, but aren't steep enough to roll a Slinky alongside during the race. Racers equipped with Jaguar chip timing aim for their personal best and a die-cast medal (awarded by age division and for the top three male and female finishers), while families and spectators root on runners from the finish line.
Xperience Adventures sends thrill seekers scampering through cities across the U.S., unlocking clues and toppling challenges en route to race-day glory. Teams of up to five rely on technology—the Internet, texting, and apps—and their own savvy to move quickly from one checkpoint to the next. The catch: they can only travel under their own power or via public transit, meaning no hitching rides with taxis, pedicabs, or flying saucers. Though participants map out their own itinerary, races typically cover a distance of three to six miles. Once every team has successfully conquered the course, they can meet up during an after party at a local brewery, restaurant, or sports bar to celebrate their accomplishments with food and drink specials.
The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes & 5K empowers runners and walkers to contribute to the battle against Type 1 diabetes one stride at a time. Racers dash through a marked 5K track, testing their endurance and pursuing a personal best—whether by shaving off a few seconds, finishing a race for the first time, or crossing the line before their shadow does. Attendees can also demonstrate support by enrolling their dogs, who can also take part in the race. Whether running or walking, all participants work toward the same goal: raising funds and awareness for JDRF’s mission to contribute to treatments, and eventually a cure, for Type 1 diabetes.
The Great Urban Race is a one-day event pitting teams of two against one another in a race combining physical challenges, scavenger hunts, and puzzles. Up to 700 twosomes will traverse 4 to 8 miles of Toronto terrain on foot and by public transportation as they solve 12 challenging clues in a fun quest to reach the finish line first. Sample clues and challenges from past Great Urban Races include charades, bubble-gum chewing, pig Latin deciphering, bicycle races, and word scrambles, making this race ideal for competitive eaters and cryptographers alike. Teams are encouraged to dress up in matching outfits, and prizes will be awarded for best costume. Prizes are also given for race results, with $300 going to first place, $200 to second place, and $100 to third place. The top 25 teams will qualify for the National Championship in New Orleans in November, with the top three teams receiving free entry. Each participant gets a T-shirt and postrace refreshments of fruit, granola bars, and a run through a Perrier sprinkler. Read over the rules and FAQs for more information.
During the challenge, teams of two or more individuals will run helter-skelter around the city in a frantic race for cash prizes and personal pride, with a first-place award of $200. Not only will participants have to solve strands of interconnected clues that would test the deductive powers of even the most seasoned children's book detective, they'll need to plot spatiotemporal stratagems while exploring undiscovered corners of the city. Although being physically fit is a plus, quick wits and wise planning will ultimately determine the winners. Participation in the challenge gets contestants a clue packet, race-number bib, and T-shirt, and fees go toward the prize pool. The website offers a regular FAQ, as well as a Groupon FAQ detailing the intricacies of the race, what to wear the day of, why it's not okay to bring a boa constrictor, and more.