What would you do to survive if the dead began to walk—or worse, to sprint? Brave individuals can find out at Zombie Rush obstacle course. The apocalypse conveniently starts the moment runners set foot on the event grounds and receive the keys to their survival: three flags that the nearby zombies want even more than they want brains or a decent moisturizer. Participants must protect those flags while traversing five kilometers of muddy obstacles, ever wary of the shambling threats that lurk in the shadows. Alternately, they can sign up to be the shambling threats themselves, and have their zombie makeup applied by professional artists. No matter which faction they choose, everyone makes up afterward at the Compound, where beer is served, music is played, and performers re-enact thrilling perimeter breaches.
The frighteningly fun run is one of the many events put on by Ultimate Combatant, an organization specializing in challenging mud races. With a founder and staff made up of firefighters, fitness experts, and members of the armed forces, the company's races aim to test participants' physical and mental prowess.
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During the Superhero Scramble, racers of all fitness levels tear across arduous terrain littered with body- and mind-challenging obstacles. Participants must wade through mud and, to reach the finish line, persevere through a barrage of Super Slime generously donated by retired Ghostbusters.
Upon completing the race, athletes ride their endorphin high into a party stocked with ice-cold beer. There, they can mingle with other contestants, sway to live music, and see awards doled out to the fastest runners in each age bracket. Male and female Scramble Gamble contestants compete for prizes that can cover the cost of replacing the engines in their sneakers. The benefits of the race extend beyond the Gamble winners, too—the organizers donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.
In an effort to banish the long waiting lines and spread-out obstacles of other mud runs, the organizers of Armageddon Ambush, The Extreme Mud Run, have designed a fun and unique competition that is extreme and unpredictable with more than 15 professionally constructed obstacles built by licensed contractors, including climbing walls and tire pits. To keep things unpredictably colorful, they also set up powdered color ambushes throughout the course. An after-party with beer, food, and live music offers participants an opportunity to dance off the mixture of mud and paint, a much more fun alternative to showering and a much safer one than rolling around on a cop's freshly washed squad car. (However, washing off is also available.)
The Benjamin Dash is all about the Benjamins—but there's no cash on the mud-drenched race course. Instead, the 5K route is dotted with special flags, which participants redeem for money at the finish line. Some flags can be won through roadside challenges, such as sprint races or bus pulls. Others are buried in the mud and can only be found by digging or by mopping the course terrain clean.
Participants not only strive to collect flags, but they struggle to keep them. During the race, charity warriors roam the course trying to steal flags for their nonprofits. However, selfless-minded racers can donate without submitting to robbery; they can also choose to donate some or all of their flag earnings at the finish line.
In the Insane Inflatable 5K, a towering, albeit bouncy, staircase looks down on runners—and that's just the first obstacle. After clambering up one side and sliding down the other, contestants face a series of difficult grownup bounce houses with intimidatingly cute names. In Tangled Up, for example, a bramble of tubes catches runners in a rubbery maze. Likewise, S.O.S. has a 2.5-story pile of slides that leaves one feeling dizzy and disoriented. The whole thing climaxes at the Finish Line, which features rubber wrecking balls, a human pinball machine of colorful bumpers, and a rope ladder. Afterwards, everyone gets to head to the Insane Midway to enjoy carnival games, live DJ performances, and food and beverages.