These races will make you forget you’re running and actually kick your butt
JULY 10, 2017
of us. Why spend money on running around on hot pavement when you could just… not? (To be fair, this study says an hour of running could actually extend your life) But if you want to get out and enjoy the outdoors while getting a serious workout in, it may be high time you look into signing up for an obstacle course race.The appeal of obstacle course racing, to most, is that you hardly notice you’re running, because you’re more focused on dealing with intense, oftentimes military-inspired obstacles that will seriously challenge your mind and body.Signing up for a race can be a great motivator to get to the gym for training so you don’t completely die out on the course. Signing up will require you to train not only your running legs, but your entire body to prepare for conquering all of those obstacles. It’s a great combination of strength training and cardio to help you lean out and get shredded, so why the hell not?We’ve put together a list of the best obstacle course races you should seriously consider trying out this summer. From 24 hour races to bootcamp-inspired obstacles, just prepping for these races will definitely help whip you into shape.
Tough Mudder‘s slogan is “probably the toughest event on the planet,” and for good reason. The shortest distance is 10 miles long and is peppered with team-oriented obstacles that will seriously challenge you both physically and mentally. Tough Mudders don’t have any clocks or awards for placing. Tough Mudders are about surviving the race, no matter how long it takes, and whether or not you arrive with a team, you’ll certainly finish with one. Another perk: there’s a much-deserved beer waiting at the finish line. Tough Mudder races are currently held across the globe and there are a bunch happening this summer. Find the one closest to you here.
The Spartan Race Series features three different distances—”sprint,” “super” and “beast”— all challenging in their own right. Most start with the “sprint” distance, which is three miles of challenging obstacles, including crawling under barbed wire to climbing up ropes and walls. The “super” and “beast” races range from eight to 14 miles long, and have a reputation for being some of the toughest obstacle races. The Spartan series add an element of competitiveness that many courses don’t with their Spartan Championship series, which features the fastest racers from across the globe. Spartan Races are everywhere, so chances are there’s one happening near you soon. Find out here.
If you’ve ever dreamt of putting your zombie apocalypse survival skills to the test, then the Zombie Mud Run is the perfect race for you. Along with featuring bootcamp-inspired obstacles across its 5K course, participants are required to wear a flag football belt with three flags representing your three vital organs— heart, brain and entrails. “Zombies” are scattered along the course, their sole objective to grab as many flags as they can. If you cross the finish line with one or more flags remaining, congratulations, you’re still alive. If not, well, you’ve seen the shows… you know what happens. Find one near you here.
The Warrior Dash is another 5K obstacle race that features 12 grueling obstacles make it anything but the typical 5K race. They say “anyone can start and everyone can finish” a Warrior Dash, but don’t be fooled— the obstacles are tough. The races take place all over the United States and have a bunch of races coming up this summer. Find the one nearest you here.
The Civilian Military Combine is for the athlete looking for a serious challenge. The CMC, as it calls itself, claims to be “specifically designed to put endurance and strength athletes on equal footing” with their two-part course. The first part is their five-minute “PIT,” which consists of three AMRAPS (as many rounds as possible) of various exercises, such as burpees, box jumps or lunges. Then the obstacle course race starts, which consists of over 25 obstacles across a course spanning anywhere from four to five miles. This is the race to check out if you’re looking for something to really test your overall fitness. Their next race is in September, so you still have time to train.
The GORUCK Challenge is difficult. Seriously difficult. The challenges are based on Special Forces training, and feature three different challenges you can choose from—”light,” “tough” and “heavy.” The “light” option takes about five hours and covers anywhere from seven to 10 miles, and the “tough” and “heavy” options make that look like a leisure stroll through the park. Participants are required to carry a pack weighing either 20 or 30 pounds, depending on the individual’s weight. Forget physical challenges—the GORUCK challenges are all about how far you can push yourself. The average finishing rate of people who opt for the “heavy” option is only 50 percent. The challenges take place across the country, all summer long. Find one near you here.
Rugged Maniac is more than just a 5K obstacle course race. It’s an entire festival. The fun starts with a pre-race party featuring beach volleyball, mechanical bull riding and a bunch of other fun fun events. The race itself features at least 25 different obstacles, so you’ll be so preoccupied getting through those you won’t even realize you just ran over three miles by the time you finish. This race is all about having a good time with your friends and making your weekend fun and active. Find the one nearest you here.