Alternative races!

We’ve talked before about what a great motivator signing up for a race can be. Fortunately, when it comes to the variety of races available, there’s never been a better time to be a runner. And since even the most enthusiastic athlete can start to get bored with everyday road races, we’ve rounded up some of the best (not to mention increasingly common) “alternative” type races out there.

We’re talking about the crazy, high-intensity, often dirty ones. Here’s hoping we can pique your interest and inspire some runners to get registered for something a little out of the ordinary this season.

Mud run.

A mud run typically gets you off the paved road and onto the trails, where you may be surprised to learn there is almost always more mud leftover from the last rain than you ever thought possible. No special skills necessarily required, but you do need a willingness to get really, really dirty. Throw on some old gear and have some fun if you can find one of these.

Color run.

A color run (often held to benefit a charity) is pretty much a typical road race where distance milestones are recognized with a messy splash of color across your body. It’s often a silly, fun way to liven up an ordinary 5k. Some people like these because as you might expect, the focus becomes a little less about competition and more about having a goofy, fun time.

Obstacle run.

These are tough…ranging from relatively short and intense to insanely long and grueling (think marathon with mud, water, and monkey bars). If most of your training has been running, you’ll definitely want to cross train and do circuit work to prepare your body for the obstacles. Usually the focus of an obstacle run is just getting to the finish line, and you’ll be amazed at the great attitude and camaraderie that builds around these things.

Ultramarathons.

Okay, we’re just going to say it. Maybe your crazy. There. Now that that’s out in the open, we’ll point out that for serious distance runners, there are races out there that make a traditional marathon look like a warmup. As you might expect, running two marathons back-to-back or grueling through a full 100 miles becomes as much a feat of mental strength as physical. If you are reliably completing marathons or are wondering just how much sheer distance you can set as a goal for yourself, explore ultra marathons.

How about you guys? Any recommended races (race types or specific events) for our readers?

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