Many of us love a good challenge, but just how far would you be willing to go for one? What if the challenge includes jumping over fire, running for hours in cold sweat and being suspended in the air at crazy heights? If any of the above activities sound like a good time to you, you definitely need to try one of these crazy events that will get your pulse racing and your adrenaline pumping just by reading about them!
1. Rugged Maniac
Price: Starts at $39, can be up to $110 if you register the day of
Ideal for: Someone who is hungry for a constant challenge, but not up for a ton of running
It may sound like your average fitness challenge like Tough Mudder, but Rugged Maniac takes the cake when it comes to intensity! Lasting only 3.1 miles, Rugged Maniac is shorter than other competitions like it, but where the course lacks in distance, it sure makes up for in obstacles, packing a whopping 25, compared to Spartan Race and Tough Mudder’s 15.
The tough course resembles an adult-like jungle gym where you can expect to do everything from jumping over half-pipes to dodging huge, swinging punching bags that are headed right in your direction. Consider it a combination of a marathon, American Gladiators and Wipeout!
2. Death Race
Price: $250 for the winter race, $400 for the summer race
Ideal for: Someone who enjoys a surprise around every corner and completing atypical tasks
Though the name of the event sounds a bit dramatic, the actual course proves it's seriously no joke. If you're daring enough to try Death Race, you can expect to not only complete physically demanding obstacles, but also mental challenges involving puzzles and trivia, such as translating instructions for the next obstacle into English (no dictionary included).
Death Race creators have intentionally kept future race details a secret, and for good reason: to surprise the competitors at every corner. They don't disclose what time of day or night the race starts or where the finish line is until you’re actually at it. With typical obstacle-course events, you know what’s ahead of you. With Death Race, you only know what’s coming after you’ve been directed on the spot by race officiators or written instructions. In the past, participants have had to finish wacky tasks like cutting and carrying timber, chopping onions and doing farm work, which sounds like a nice break from crawling under barbed wire!
3. The Zombie Mud Run
Price: Starts at $55, can be up to $85 on the day of the event
Ideal for: A team player who likes competition, but still likes to have fun
If competing in your average sweat-inducing, heartbeat-pumping fitness event isn't putting your stamina to the ultimate test, try participating in a race where you're being chased by zombies. In The Zombie Mud Run, it's up to participants to save the human race by carrying three flags (your vital organs) across the finish line.
Expect to crawl, slide, climb and duck through this 5K track, which seems a lot more doable until you're running for your life from some flesh-eating monsters. All participants get to attend a Human Salvation Party after the event's conclusion, so even if you were infected along the course, you still get to celebrate all your effort with food, drinks and a live DJ! Though men, women and teams compete together, the participants of each type who complete the circuit the most number of times in the daylong period win.
4. World’s Toughest Mudder
Price: Between $375-$550, depending on how far in advance you register
Ideal for: Someone who has hardcore stamina (we’re talking someone who runs marathons for fun) and the utmost determination
Most fitness event participants have a certain amount of stamina, but only the fiercest athletes compete in the World’s Toughest Mudder. As the championship level of the Tough Mudder franchise, World’s Toughest Mudder highlights those who have more endurance than you could ever imagine. Instead of trekking through freezing water and troughs of mud for a set distance in order to finish, registrants of this race complete an obstacle-packed, 5-mile circuit for 24 hours.
As a seemingly endless race, World’s Toughest Mudder adds new meaning to the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Any common fears most people have –heights, darkness, fire– are brought to life with the course's many obstacles that include anything from cliff jumping to running through smoke bombs. But in the end, it’s not a question of how fast you can crawl on a pole suspended high above the ground—it’s a question of whether or not you can last.
5. Badwater 135
Price: Entry fee is $250, but you have to apply and qualify first
Ideal for: A regular marathon runner who has experience with running in the heat
Unlike enduring the World’s Toughest Mudder’s almost endless course, Badwater 135 has a set distance: 135 miles. Sure, that’s a huge distance to run, but it’s just running, right? Nope. It’s having to deal with some of the steepest terrain in the country. Even the most well-trained marathoners, who are no running novices, might find this race too challenging for comfort.
The course snakes through Death Valley, where temperatures average 100 degrees at the time of the July race, and eventually culminates to the huge ascent to the highest paved point on Mount Whitney. In total, the course covers 17,000 feet of vertical ascent, so you might want to sit this one out if you get altitude sickness while standing still, let alone while running.
If these events are a bit too thrilling for you, consider giving one of these slightly less intense but still challenging running races a go. And whether you choose a wacky marathon or mud run, remember that you're doing it to have fun and create some lasting memories!