Wacky and Wild Running Races
Krispy Kreme Challenge
Twelve donuts and four fun miles make for one sticky sweet race! North Carolina State University organizes the Krispy Kreme Challenge to benefit the NC Children's Hospital, and last year they raised $100,000. "Challengers" must finish the race in under an hour and eat a dozen donuts at mile two and, er, keep them down. "Casual Runners" can eat as many or as few Krispy Kremes as they want.
The Yuengling Shamrock Marathon
Recent studies show that drinking beer after your workout can rehydrate your body better than water. The folks at the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, couldn't agree more! Last year they went through 226 kegs of Yuengling beer at the finish line parties, and that doesn’t include the unofficial beer fuel station along the route.
Bare Buns Fun Run
For those extremely comfortable in their skin…and only their skin, there's the Bare Buns Fun Run. This 5K race is technically "clothing optional" and takes participants through Tiger Mountain in Washington. If you've opted to not wear clothes we strongly recommend slathering on sunscreen. Not ready to take your nude workout outside yet? Try naked indoor yoga.
New York City Pizza Run
Last year pizza aficionado and New York City resident Jason Feirman (he also runs the website I Dream of Pizza) took his passion to the streets and started the New York City Pizza Run. Participants run 2.25 miles through the city's Tompkins Square Park and stop to eat three slices of pizza at checkpoints throughout the course.
Wife Carrying Championship
Although the original wife-carry race is thought to have started in 19th century Finland, the Wife Carry Championship that is held in Maine every Columbus Day is a more modern affair. The teams who compete do not have to be married, and in some cases the woman holds the man. The winner takes home the "wife's" weight in beer and five times her weight in cash.
Tough Mountain Challenge
The race's website ominously announces, "You won't die. Serious injury is unlikely. However, there's still a good chance you'll bleed a bit." Participants are pounded with high-powered water guns (used to create snow during the ski season), dive through rings of fire, and run through other obstacles during their 10-mile race, so that warning should be taken seriously. Nonetheless, every year 1,000 racers join in on the fearless fun of Maine's Tough Mountain Challenge.
Yukon Arctic Ultra
The Yukon Arctic Ultra, which holds marathon, 100-, 300- and 430-mile races for runners, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers, has been called, "The world's coldest and toughest ultra!" Race director Robert Pollhammer suggests training for a race like this—where the average temp is -10 F, and temps have reached as low as -70 F—by taking "Long runs and walks. Pulling a sled or tires. Trying to train on sand and snow."
Sultan Marathon Des Sables
From the coldest race to the hottest, the Sultan Marathon Des Sables is not for the faint of heart. Temperatures reach up to 120F as racers compete for six days and through about 240 K (nearly five marathons!!) through Morocco’s Sahara desert.
Hershey Half Marathon
Runners are spurred on by the sweet smell of Pennsylvania's Hershey Park and encouraged to get through that last mile with a snack-sized Hersey bar in the Hershey Half Marathon. Participants race past the World's Largest Chocolate Factory and other delicious monuments as individuals or as part of a two-person relay.
Dances with Dirt
According to the races' website, "Participants in one of the Dances with Dirt races should expect to be scratched, muddied, and bruised by the beauty of this unpolished gem." The series of races take place throughout the country: Green Swamp, Florida in winter, Gnaw Bone, Indiana in spring, Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin in summer and the aptly named Hell, Michigan in fall. All of the races include "sections of insane terrain…. running down or up rivers, butt slide hills, mud holes, and off trail bushwhacks. But mostly great trail running," says Randy Step, who calls himself the Head Goat of Dances with Dirt.
Run for the Pies
Back in 1979, when Doug and Jane Alred opened their sports store, 1st Place Sports in Jacksonville, Florida, they "wanted to do something unique, so we decided to run for pies instead of trophies," Doug says. And thus Run for the Pies was created. "We now give out over 250 pies based on finishing times." They host a competitive 5K Championship and an open 5K, and the party continues after the race with free beer and a live band.
Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon
The Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon takes racers through beautiful Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, California. And, if the scenery wasn't enough to keep your spirits high, racers enjoy a sip of Sauvignon Blanc or rose at mile six and a full wine tasting when they finish the race. Destination Races also hosts other wine country half marathons.