Spartan Runs, Tough Mudders, and More

July 22nd, 2013

Spartan Run Finish
I have recently noticed the increase in popularity of these “fun” runs. What I mean is that people have taken a different spin on exercise. They have made it more challenging, interesting, and even entertaining! I think this is a great change from your typical marathon or 5k run. Similar to any endurance run, it is about the challenge, not the win. Just finish and you are a winner.

While I think I will pass on crawling under barbed wire or getting paint smeared on me (I’ll be staying traditional), I think this is a great way for people to get out there and stay active. Events like this are great motivators for people to have a goal to get in shape for. You can sign up with friends and family and all work towards it!
Below I’ve compiled a few well-known organizations that put on these obstacle-type races.

Spartan Run

I first heard of this through my daughter who had signed up to run. The Spartan Race is a well-known organization who puts together obstacle course races of various lengths and difficulties at numerous locations across the country. They gather thousands each year to their and have established themselves as a versatile organization to accommodate many types of athletes.

Tough Mudder

Similar to the Spartan Run, the Tough Mudder was designed by British Special Forces to test your strength and endurance in a 10-12 mile obstacle race. It is both physically challenging as well as mentally rigorous. I would be ready to get down and dirty as your crawl through mud, swing from ropes and climb walls.

Zombie Runs

There are numerous zombie runs, where my understanding is that you are being chased by zombies and are running away over obstacles before they get you. Run For Your Lives and Zombie Run are one of the well-known groups to put this type of run together. It adds an interesting twist to your typical obstacle race. You wear flags and if you get them all pulled off before you reach the finish line you’ve been “killed”.

The Survival Race & Warrior Dash

Both the The Survival Race and the Warrior Dash put a strong emphasis on being set up for people who both want to have fun and have a challenge, but aren’t looking to go all out. They like to state that they are trying to get people active and are meant for those who are just looking to get started with obstacle course-type racing.

Muddy Buddy & Rugged Maniac

While I personally have never heard of this race, Muddy Buddy it is known for being less serious and “hardcore”. There is a great number of younger participants, and along with Rugged Maniac, has been well-endorsed by other websites for being more gender-friendly, with a larger ratio of female to male racers.

The Color Run

Now this is something I might have fun with. This is not an obstacle course race, but it is still different! Instead of finishing caked in mud from head to toe, you will look like you were dunked in a vat of dye. I give you the Color Run, where as you run you get blasted with colorful paint. My daughter has had friends who did this and I have not heard a bad thing yet!

The Color Run
The Color Run – just run and paint (photo courtesy of Huffington Post)

While I do not think these races are for everyone, I think it would be good to try it once (I actually am planning on joining my daughter next summer for the Spartan race…maybe). It is a great way to get out and be active and HAVE FUN too (yes, running and fitness can be fun!). I admit, the price to sign up can be startling to a few, especially if you have never signed up before, but go for it. Get your friends together. Get a family member to go with you. Set a goal, get in shape, and enjoy yourself.

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Dr.Mooney is a life coach, published author, co-director and owner of Karner Psychological Associates (KPA), which was established in 1987, with offices in Guilderland, East Greenbush, and Clifton Park. He has worked with numerous well-known companies, including General Electric, Freihofer's, Key Bank, St.Peters Hospital, and more.

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