When the early afternoon tide is low, participants in the Surfing Madonna "Save the Ocean" 5K/10K line up waterside on Moonlight Beach. The scenic run takes athletes of all stripes along the shore to their respective 5k and 10k turnaround points, at which point they must loop back to the finish. Each runner has three hours to complete his or her route, which features aid stations stocked with food and drink along the way. The top 20 male and female finishers divvy up $8,000 worth of prize money, while the top ladies and gents in each age division receive handmade mosaic medals by artist Mark Patterson.
Those awards are distributed during the run’s all-day after party, where vendors supply free snacks and drinks as live music resounds across the shore. In addition to awards for the race, the after-party includes a presentation of $20,000 in scholarships to local students. Likewise, Surfing Madonna—a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the world’s oceans—donates an additional $20,000 to local beach- and ocean-related projects, which are voted for by race participants.
Kaia FIT is a studio for women of all ages regardless of their fitness levels. Every workout is different and includes interval, strength, endurance, flexibility and cardio training. Programs range in intensity and length for exercisers of all ages, fitness levels, and goals, from six-week BRIK boot camps, which debut a fresh workout regime for each season, to Saturday Power Hours, which blend interval, strength, and endurance training. CORE Session boot-camp classes unfold in five-week intervals between BRIK camps and use muscle-confusion techniques to keep bodies in better shape than fad diets. The various regimens, including nutritional support and accountability, invite women to join a community where they dedicate themselves to maintaining their health and fitness.
The mud sucks at arms and legs. A horned helmet tumbles into the muck, sinking out of sight, as a crowd of bodies above surges forward. The end of the pit comes into sight, and someone, dripping and muddy, crests the edge, reaching back to help the person behind them. This may be a race, but the after party at the finish line will be more fun with friends in tow. Welcome to the Del Mar Mud Run.
The five-kilometer race wends a new course through historic Del Mar Fairgrounds every year, pitting runners against 12 or more obstacles. Those that don't involve mud tend to make use of foam, or involve tasks that are especially challenging when hands are slick and slippery. Racers might wade through pits, jump chasms, balance across tight ropes, or scale walls, earning the t-shirt and free beer that await them at the end of the course. The organizers encourage people to wear costumes, as long as those costumes involve shoes that cover the ankle. Otherwise, the mud tends to suck shoes right off feet, adding them to its collection of things to wear once it finally has a body.
The ROC Race is a 5K fun run with a catch—a dozen of them, to be exact. Twelve giant obstacles stand in the way of victory, including a wrecking ball that threatens to knock runners off their path. The various challenges draw their inspiration from the world's most extreme game shows, where contestants have to run through tires, swing on ropes, and swoosh down giant slides. To make things even more exciting, ROC's organizers encourage participants to dress up in wacky costumes like tutus or outfits inspired by superheroes such as the Fantastic 5K Finisher.
This epic event descends on cities across the U.S., welcoming runners ages 13 and up to fend off water and foam before greeting crowds of spectators at the finish line. A post-race experience keeps things going with even more foam and festivities.
Once runners start on the Avocado Half Marathon and 5K, they soon find themselves surrounded by an environment more nature than urban. The race organizers designed both routes to pass more trees than buildings—starting downhill, then covering rolling hills in the middle, and finally concluding with a one-mile downhill finish. Spectators and aid stations (complete with water and sports drinks) line the course to help runners along.
Medals aren't the only thing waiting at the finish line. Music fills a post-race party, which celebrates everyone's achievement with plenty of avocados. The Avocado Half Marathon and 5K also benefits their non-profit sponsor Homes for our Troops.
For the fifth year in a row, the Del Mar Mud Run is setting up shop at the historic Del Mar Fairgrounds. A sell-out event in each of its first four runs, the event has gained notoriety for its national TV spots and attendance by reality-TV stars. This year's race will keep everyone on their muddy toes, though, as a brand-new course will introduce different obstacles and a possible redefinition of true north. Participants can sign up as individuals or a team; either way, they can hit up a post-race foam fest with hot showers and a dance party.