Mud runs and obstacle races are extremely popular because they allow us to tap into our biological urge to conquer (and, if we’re being honest, they’re also an excuse to post some really fun photos to Facebook).
So don’t be a stick in the mud—get your friends together and get moving at any of these six obstacle races across the country.
XtremeAIR 5K Obstacle RaceAug. 27, 2016; Oshkosh, WI (additional dates and locations) 1 of 7
This race series aims to put some spring in your step with 12 inflatable obstacles. The obstacles range from a steep climb on the Cliffhanger, to winding (or barreling) your way through a maze obstacle called Get Lost (that's fitting).
This event is fun for all ages and can be a walk in the park or more physically demanding if your aim is to go full bore. Race organizers say the course is more difficult and grueling than it lets on. Challenge accepted?
The Original Mud Run NashvilleSept. 3 & 4, 2016; Franklin, TN (additional dates and locations) 2 of 7
The Original Mud Run bills itself as, well, the original mud run. And with that kind of expertise, expect to get exceptionally dirty. The race features a variety of challenges like Gorilla Ropes (think monkey bars, but with ropes), the Mine Field (crawling under a cargo net while dodging simulated mines) and Tire Mountain—which is a double entendre, because it's both a mountain made of tires, but will also tire you out if you don't approach it with the respect it deserves. Like we said: exceptionally dirty.
The race includes two courses: a 5K with 18-plus obstacles and a 10K with 30-plus obstacles. Both courses are appropriate for runners 12 years and older.
Dirty Girl Mud RunSept. 10, 2016; Copper Mountain, CO (additional dates and locations) 3 of 7
Dirty Girl is an obstacle course run that encourages camaraderie and pushes women out of their comfort zones. It's an untimed 5K, so it's not a race in a traditional sense, but it allows you to push yourself as much as you—and your team—are willing to.
And the camaraderie doesn't end at the finish line. The party continues with music and adult beverages after the race.
Wilderness SurvivorSept. 10, 2016; Voorheesville, NY (additional dates and locations) 4 of 7
The Wilderness Survivor obstacle course says its challenges are designed to measure participant's vigor, endurance, mental toughness and ability to survive. Not only are participants challenged by their fellow competitors, but also by things that unfold in front of them. Fallen logs engulfed in flames? Jump over it—but only if you're brave enough. Race individually or form a team in order to take on nature, fanatical activists and zombies.
So would you rather sit around playing a board game at home or do some role-playing with your closest pals? Sounds like an easy decision to us.
Dirty Dozen Mud RunNov. 11 & 12, 2016; Sebring, FL 5 of 7
The Dirty Dozen includes some pretty fantastic land obstacles to navigate, including sand dunes and steep mud bunkers covered by cargo nets. But while the race guarantees a crazy time, it also benefits the Hendricks Field Memorial Park (a WWII B-17 Training Base), the West Sebring Volunteer Fire Department and the Folds of Honor Foundation.
So while you might be navigating your way through a grueling course for fun, some of the proceeds go to those men and women who have dedicated their lives to others. You're bound to feel good about that by the end of the race.
Muddy Brute - Obstacle Course Mud RunNov. 19, 2016; Wildwood, FL 6 of 7
Muddy Brute Challenge describes itself as an intense four to five-mile beginner-friendly course with 30-plus obstacles, mud pits and water crossings. And we can vouch from browsing their photos, "intense" seems like an apt description (just get a load of that steep cargo net climb above!).
To complete the race you'll need courage, teamwork and determination. Those 14 and up are eligible to race. Best of luck!