Bored with traditional running races? Kick up the dust and go off-road for your next race. In addition to a change of scenery, trail running allows you to connect with nature and challenges your body in new ways.
These nine races around the country are perfect for those looking to have a little fun off the grid.
Da$h 4 Ca$h Trail Race 1K, 5K, 5-MileAug. 13, 2016; Corpus Christi, Texas 1 of 10
Thanks to the notoriously flat south Texas setting, this trail race is perfect for beginners looking to test the trail running waters. Cold hard cash is waiting for winners at the finish line, but those who don't break the tape will still enjoy the recently created trails along the Oso Creek waterway and a live DJ.
Runners will enjoy a post-race meal of genuine Texas barbecue, snacks, fruit and beer. The race is limited to 250 participants, so be sure to register early to reserve your spot.
Mud & Chocolate Trail RunAug. 14, 2016; Sammamish, Washington 2 of 10
Is there anything better than running and chocolate? The Mud & Chocolate Trail Run rewards finishers with a chocolate themed medal and post-race access to Chocomania, the race's chocolate-filled refueling area.
As if the chocolate treats weren't enough, the course boasts sweet views from its beautiful singletrack trails that wind through cottonwood, alders, maples and conifer trees.
Loopy 5KSept. 10, 2016; Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin 3 of 10
This 5K trail race happens in conjunction with the Loop de Loopy Triathlon, taking place on wooded and groomed trails near local favorite eatery, Loopy's Saloon.
Parents are encouraged to bring their children on this 3.2-mile race, so each adult entry includes a free child registration. Every runner will receive a race T-shirt and children get their own commemorative water bottles.
Off the Beaten Path 3K and 6K Trail RaceSept. 24, 2016; Grinnell, Iowa 4 of 10
This 3K and 6K trail race offers runners flat terrain, grass surfaces and plenty of post-race snacks and refreshments. Both races are walker-friendly, giving newbies the opportunity to try trail running without the added pressure of a short time cutoff.
You can feel good about registering, too, as proceeds from this race will benefit the natural resources and sustainability of Jasper County, Iowa.
Hell Creek on HeelsOct. 2, 2016; Sylvan Grove, Kansas 5 of 10
Don't let the name of this race scare you away. Race organizers put an emphasis on fun and encourage people of all ages and abilities to experience a new kind of running.
We recommend the 5K distance, which runs across the Switchgrass Trail in Wilson State Park. Multiple aid stations are available throughout the course and are stocked with water and energy products, including granola bars, bananas and energy gels. Runners will be treated to views of Wilson Lake, sandstone formations and no shortage of local animal life.
Cow Pie Trail RunOct. 8, 2016; Loup City, Nebraska 6 of 10
This race is run on cow paths over wide-open pastures in central Nebraska, with miles of peaceful countryside to take in. While rolling hills dominate the course, race organizers promise, "if cows can do it, so can you."
After crossing the finish, runners can celebrate the fall season with a delicious barbecue lunch and hay rides for the whole family.
Robbins Run 5K/10K Trail RacesOct. 15, 2016; Danville, Pennsylvania 7 of 10
This race—at 5K and 10K distances—takes place on the Robbins and Old Reading Line trails, which were built in the 1890s. The mainly flat trail makes for a fast, beginner-friendly experience, and the course is well supported with aid stations full of water, Gatorade and energy bars.
Sekani Trail RunOct. 16, 2016; Spokane, Washington 8 of 10
This race offers 5K and 10K options, both of which run on trails above the Spokane River with amazing views of the city below. The course features a number of hills, but the race welcomes runners, walkers and run-walkers, so the pressure is off to finish under a certain time limit.
All proceeds of this trail run benefit the Franklin Elementary School APPLE program, which encourages parents to play a larger role in their child's education.
Fat Turkey Trail Run 5K/10K (have image)Nov. 26, 2016; Tempe, Arizona 9 of 10
Taking place just a couple of days after Thanksgiving, this trail race gives you the opportunity to run off your gluttonous Turkey Day meal—and have fun doing it. Pull out your best turkey costume and run an off-road 5K or 10K at Linear Park in central Arizona.
All runners will receive a commemorative pint glass and refreshments, with chances to win prizes at the finish line.