Outside of a running race, the best way to test a person's endurance is to see how long they can listen to a radio play-by-play of a running race. Take on a real challenge with today's Groupon: for $19, you get one entry to The Naked Foot 5K on August 28, launching at 9 a.m. in Riverside Park (regularly $35; $40 entry on race day). Groupon holders should register and pick up their packets at Gazelle Sports between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 27, or at the park between 7 a.m. and 8:20 a.m. on the day of the race.
The Naked Foot 5K invites ambitious stems to scamper freely through the grassy fields and wooded paths of Riverside Park during a race requiring zero footwear. After picking up a packet and number, participants can prep their bodies for the trot by either lacing up or lacing down; barefoot-running experts are on hand to answer questions about shoeless safety and reassure modest toes that all nude action photographs will be tasteful. Once athletes have finished their weave through lush wildlife and throngs of befuddled animal trackers, post-race festivities round up fatigued feet for prizes, heel massages, fruit and bagels, and foot painting. In addition to receiving a complimentary dry-fit race T-shirt, all partakers will automatically be entered in a raffle to win a snug pair of Merrell Barefoot shoes. Kids can also get in on the fun by arriving early for a free 1K race, starting at 8:30 a.m.
The Naked Foot 5K partners with Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from footwear companies and independent donors and then distributes them to people in need. Participants can contribute to the noble cause by bringing new or gently juggled shoes to the event for donation.
It's a charity race with a back story like none other: bloodthirsty demons have been working in your community's offices, living in its homes, attending its schools. And now they're on the hunt and people are running for their lives. Citizens might be booking it across a field, seemingly far from the chaos, when shapes emerge on the horizon dressed head-to-toe in vampires' telltale black clothes. If you're a citizen, be prepared to run. If you're a vampire—lock in your target.
That's just part of what you might experience on the Vampire 5K, a twilight fun run where participants can register as "citizens" or "vampires" and take off from two separate starting lines. Both camps eventually converge in a chase that finds vamps trying to convert their mortal counterparts to the dark side. Citizens, dressed in white, sport two garlic flags; if the flags are taken before runners cross their finish line, they switch to a black tee and chase citizens. After the race, a moonlit party finds both camps sipping bloody marys during a dance party and award presentation. The race benefits the Mission to Hear Foundation, which provides hearing aids to underprivileged children, adults, and whatever they're calling the age group that comes in between these days.
2907 Monroe Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49505Get Directions