Viewed from above, Basic Training’s fitness boot camps look like a track meet designed by worker ants. On the ground, participants bound over hurdles, crawl through obstacle courses, and wield heavy objects such as sandbags, sledgehammers, and beer kegs. In actuality, these workouts are designed by a human fitness expert: Rodney Carson, a drill instructor who has trained at military bases such as the Army National Guard Camp San Luis Obispo and the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.
Based on the Marine Corps physical-training regimen, his boot camps propel participants toward fitness goals while boosting their confidence and breaking their bad habits. Many workouts draw from his experiences preparing for track-and-field events, such as the International Masters Track Circuit, where he won three gold medals for his speedy footwork. Calories melt during his boot camps’ sprints and fartlek runs, and bodyweight exercises make muscles more ripply than an ocean preparing a shaken martini. During field-meet days, dodge ball, kickball, and tug-of-war battles jump-start workouts with an extra dose of fun.
Experienced instructors lead each session, inspiring the group with friendly shouts, hearty claps, and tips on form and technique. In addition to helming camps for civilians of all fitness levels, Rodney and his crew train first responders, such as police officers, firefighters, and soldiers, during special-operations sessions.
Racers swing across a custom-made monkey bar as a bath of wet, gooey mud awaits them if they should lose their grip and fall. They come dressed in trash bags to keep clean or go shirtless to soak up as much muck as possible. Either way, the NorCal Mud Run challenges athletes with an extreme outdoor course to test their endurance while inspiring an esprit de corps among its participants.
Racers bound through each obstruction in groups and can always take advantage of the bypass route that winds its way around each obstacle should they not feel up to the task.
Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race sends runners into an obstacle-filled odyssey of muddy endurance. The 5-kilometer course features more than epic 25 obstacles, with participants scaling towering walls, crawling through underground tunnels, and leaping over fire. After the race, live music and cold beer invite triumphant runners to unwind. Those with excess energy can head over to even more kinetic activities such as mechanical bull riding, beach volleyball, and adult-sized bounce houses.
Although the symbol of Komen Sacramento Valley Race for the Cure is a small pink ribbon, it represents a powerhouse of breast-cancer research and education. The rallying cry of "I am Komen" represents the foundation's multifaceted approach to fighting the disease, which focuses on community outreach, public perception of the disease, and funding for scientific research. Komen for the Cure's work has helped increase early detection, survival rates, and federal funding of groundbreaking breast-cancer research.
Beyond its signature pink-ribbon-bedecked merchandise, the Race for the Cure is the centerpiece of the foundation's fundraising and outreach efforts. Originally an 800-person charity race in Dallas, Race for the Cure has blossomed into a series of more than 150 races worldwide, which collectively host more than 1.7 million participants annually. Marathoners, runners, and walkers alike collect sponsorship donations from friends and family as they tackle races of varying lengths, wearing personalized signs on their backs to honor the breast-cancer victims and survivors in their lives. To date, Race for the Cure has raised more than $1.9 billion to support Komen initiatives.
The Sacramento Valley affiliate serves 19 counties. Of the net funds earned by the Race for the Cure here, 75% stays in the area to aid local breast-health services, while the remaining 25% goes to national research.
Run or Dye is making race running a little more colorful, one major city at a time. This 5K is divided up into four separate courses of varying lengths, each designated by a separate color—which also reflects the color of safe, eco-friendly powered dye the participants get splashed with. At the end of the race, they'll cross into the aptly named Dye Zone—a polychromatic free-for-all where fluorescent color is thrown freely from all sides, allowing runners to splash their fellow runners or get colorful revenge on their friends, family members, and any cranky art-history teachers that happen to be walking by.
Unlike some races that rank runners by time, Run or Dye only measures success in color and fun. While the safe-to-eat dyes should wash out of clothing, runners are encouraged to wear things they don't mind getting dirty, preferably in white, gray, or another neutral color to give the dyes maximum visibility.
As runners of the Running Dead Zombie Mud Run compete to beat their best 5K times, a terrifying cast of undead actors emerges on the trail to help put a scary spring in their steps. Clad in tattered clothing, gory makeup, and decaying accessories, the zombies shamble after runners navigating the course’s military-style training obstacles, mud pits, and blood cannons. Instead of trying to slow their prey down, the zombies reach their clutching hands toward at flags attached to runners’ belts. If the flags—which symbolize brains or newly established micronations—are still on runners’ belts at the end of the race, they can celebrate an additional, more personal victory: survival.
A portion of proceed will benefit Inalliance. Inalliance has been serving people with developmental disabilities and their families since 1952.