It's fair to say that the King of the Hill Dash's steep hills and winding terrain challenge the body and mind of participants. After all, they challenge dirt bikes, too. The 5K and 10K courses stretch over the track at Cahuilla Creek Motocross, which welcomes rare non-motorized competitors to its hilly confines for two afternoon races. Leg power replaces horsepower during these events, and runners will need to push themselves to the limit in order to be crowned king or queen of the hill. Both running monarchs and their loyal subjects get to celebrate at an after party with live music and plenty of food.
As the name suggests, Just Cruzin Productions specializes in events with a lot of horsepower. Guests browse more than 1,000 hot rods and classic cars at The Classic at Pismo Beach, an annual show that has been drawing droves of auto enthusiasts to central California for almost three decades. Its expertly maintained autos on display are in mint condition—they're judged based on areas from their interiors to their engine compartments, as well as on the owner's overall attention to detail, making it hard to win just by taping cardboard cutouts of a Corvette to a wagon. But the company also produces other major open-air shindigs, such as The Wagon Wheel Country Music Festival.
What unites its large portfolio of events is a passion for charitable giving. Through the Just Cruzin’ Life Foundation, it's directed millions of dollars in event proceeds to organizations including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and the Jerry L. Pettis Loma Linda Veterans Hospital.
There are three states of matter: solid, gas, and liquid. Most fun-runs take place on solid ground, but that's not the case with Liquid Adventures Inc. To celebrate all things liquid, the organization hosts The Liquid Run, a quarter-mile floating obstacle course. The watery courses feature more than 60 obstacles, challenging competitors to splash their way across inflatable slides and barricades, monkey bars, trampolines, and tunnels—all floating atop clean, clear water. After finishing, adults and kids alike can explore separate play zones chock full of dozens of floating obstacles, even a floating rock climbing wall.
However, water isn't the only liquid the race champions. The event welcomes guests to recharge in a beer garden that's half on land and half in the water, complete with floating beer-pong tables and water lounge pads. And if attendees must have a solid refreshment, a handful of food trucks and vendors will be on hand.
Though it's something most people take for granted, the ability to communicate with others, whether verbally or nonverbally, is so essential to getting through the day. And as Erin Harty began studying and practicing speech pathology, she was introduced to countless individuals who were unable to communicate, and worse yet, unable to afford the therapy or technology they needed to do so.
So she started The Gift of Gab, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to connecting people with the resources they need. Recipients of Erin's work have included those with hearing loss, children with severe apraxia, and adults who have suffered traumatic brain injury and voice disorders. In addition to year-round donation acceptance, Gift of Gab sponsors fundraising projects such as the Gobble Gobble 5K at Thanksgiving and the Awareness Challenge, a social-media campaign where donors post fun lip-sync videos.
Billing itself as the "largest true corn maze in Southern California," Big Horse Corn Maze returns each fall to challenge visitors to navigate its baffling 11-acre network of dead ends and pathways. Adding a layer of difficulty, the maze's corn stalks sometimes reach up to eight feet tall, the same height as a tower of three kids wearing a long trench coat. But there's much more to do than just get lost in a bunch of corn. Family-friendly activities outside of the maze include a corn cannon, pumpkin patch, piglet races, pony rides, and a kid-centric "corn box."
Extreme athletes banded together to design Reebok Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of about 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.