If regular 5Ks, 10Ks and even marathons don’t give you the thrill you need, you may be among the growing number of weekend warriors who are looking for more grit, more grime and more challenge from the starting line through to the finish.
For those ready to put their athleticism to the test to varying degrees, here are 5 races to put on your radar. They’re physically and mentally tough, but crossing the finish line has never been more satisfying.
Warrior Dash – If a 5K is your distance of choice but you want to do something fun and memorable, enter this race that “anyone can start and everyone can finish,” according to the event’s website. After conquering 12 obstacles fueled by earth, air, fire and water, enjoy a party with your fellow warriors, along with a DJ, and of course, food and drink.
Tough Mudder – Don’t mind getting dirty? Then consider this super-messy but challenging event. Races are held around the globe and span 10 to 12 miles of challenging obstacles. But you can count on the stranger next to you to help you when you’re stuck in the bog or can’t get over a trying obstacle. This is an event focused more on teamwork and camaraderie than achieving a personal best.
DC Half & Half Marathon – What could be so difficult? A relatively flat half marathon from Arlington, Virginia through Washington, DC and back doesn’t sound so bad. But it’s what comes in the middle that makes it a challenge. When you get to U Street, the halfway point of the race, runners need to down a basket of the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke – a hot dog with chili, mustard and onions – and potato chips, before heading back to the finish line.
Hardrock 100-Mile Endurance Run – This is definitely not for the faint of heart. Runners have 48 hours to traverse 100 miles of roads and dirt trails through the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. During this ultramarathon, you’ll conquer a total elevation change of 66,100 feet. If you make it to the end, you need to kiss the infamous Hardrock.
Badwater 135 – Looking for the ultimate high? This race starts in Death Valley at Badwater Basin, the lowest elevation in North America. Then it goes through 135 miles, 14,600 feet of cumulative ascent and over 6,000 feet of cumulative descent before ending on Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the continental U.S.