America’s Most Interesting (And Crazy) Races

America’s Most Interesting (And Crazy) Races
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If you love to run, then the idea of lacing up your shoes and running with a crowd of like-minded people might be all the motivation you need to register for a 5K. However, the more creative or less athletic among us may need a little extra oomph, and that’s where these weird and wacky races from around the country come in.

Hot Chocolate 5K

Could there possibly be any stronger motivation for finishing a race than the thought of finding pounds and pounds of delicious chocolate at the end? (Hey – you deserve it after a run, right?)

The Hot Chocolate 15/5K started in 2008 in Chicago, and has since spread to more than a dozen cities around the country. More than 200,000 people have run the race, and it might be safe to say that runners’ main motivation for finishing the race is the promise of some incredible rewards at the post-party, which include chocolate fondue, hot chocolate and an assortment of other sweet treats.

Warrior Dash

Ever done the “Deadweight Drifter”, gone into the “Diesel Dome” or navigated the “Vicious Valley”?

Well, if you decide to toe the line at the Warrior Dash, those are just a few of the fire, water and mud obstacles you can expect on this challenging four-mile course. Obstacles will have you doing everything from climbing up 15-foot walls to trudging through the mud. We think think the obstacle and race names say it all – you really have to be a warrior to make it through this course.

Rugged Maniac

If you’ve completed the Warrior Dash and are looking for an even bigger challenge, the Rugged Maniac race might be for you. This race has a whopping 25 obstacles, and boasts an all-day music festival for race participants.

In addition to jogging, you’ll get to climb, crawl through mud and muck, jet down a water slide, and jump over fire pits. When it’s all over, you’ll have the chance to party in a gigantic foam pit while guzzling a complimentary beer.

Epic Fail Challenge

If you like your competition with a healthy side of comedy, the Epic Fail Challenge is right up your alley.

Designed as a silly race that pokes fun at the more hardcore 5Ks around the country, its obstacles include a giant inflatable slide, a slip ’n slide and a tunnel crawl. To encourage participants to prioritize fun over performance, the event is not timed, and everyone who takes part can skip any obstacles they don’t feel like tackling.

Keep Austin Weird 5K

As its name implies, this race is anything but normal.

Otherwise known as the “Slowest 5K on the Planet”, the Keep Austin Weird 5K encourages racers to dress up in bizarre costumes and dawdle as much as they’d like along the course, which meanders through 10 different “Fun Stops.” Stops include a game of water balloon baseball, a visit to the Austin Ukulele Society, and an ice cream tasting session.

Bare Buns Fun Run

The Bare Buns Fun Run isn’t your only opportunity to leave your pants at home while racing, but according to this event’s organizers, it’s the original “clothing optional” fun run. The race has taken place in Kaniksu National Forest in Loon Lake, Washington, every year since 1984, and yes, each participant does get a complimentary t-shirt.

Pineapple Classic 5K

The Pineapple Classic 5K is a charity race with a Hawaiian twist: all registered teams must complete a set of obstacles while carrying a pineapple between them. Team members are encouraged to race in costume, and wear Hawaiian attire for the post-race luau-themed party. All funds raised in the Pineapple Classic benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This list provides enough racing adventure to last you for awhile, but believe it or not, there are many other wacky and wonderful races out there, so try a regional search if you’re thirsty for more.

Have you tackled any of the races above? If not, which would you most like to try?

Photo courtesy of Flickr user soldiersmediacenter.

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