Infuse excitement into your race schedule—or try a race for the first time—with a crazy running event. “These types of races often feel more like a party than a competitive endeavor, so everyone has fun,” says Sarah Bowen Shea, co-author of Train Like a Mother and co-founder of the site AnotherMotherRunner.com, a virtual aid station for women runners. “For a novice, a non-traditional race has a less competitive, more festive atmosphere, which can help ease nerves. More advanced runners will appreciate running without the pressure of nailing a time on the clock.” Discover the five crazy races that caught our eye:
Divas Half Marathon
Combine 13.1 miles of boas, tiaras and a sea of pink, and you’ve got the Divas Half Marathon. This women-focused race series melds a fun getaway with a serious fitness goal, with races in five beautiful locales: San Francisco Bay, Honolulu, Myrtle Beach, Long Island and San Juan, Puerto Rico,. Post-finish line, join the dance party, sip bubbly and celebrate with roses and a blinged out medal. Extra Crazy: Diva participants will appreciate the added touches like the Diva app, which has live runner tracking, real-time results and more. Plus, runners’ bibs are personalized with the participant’s name with “Diva” in front of it. Enter Now: Find a race at runlikeadiva.com. Run the half-marathon ($75 – $95) or 5K ($30 – $35).
Grab your glow sticks for a nighttime 5K or 10K, hosted in several cities across the country including Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix with more being added all the time. Runners race for the fun and camaraderie and, if compelled, to raise money for a charity of your choice. Extra Crazy: Each race packet comes with LED lights and a glow bracelet, though participants are welcome (and encouraged) to don additional lighting. And make sure you glow like a pro for a chance to win the after-party costume contest. Enter Now: Find a race at fireflyrun.com. Entry is $35-$45 to run solo or as part of a team.
The Color Run
In this run, dubbed the “Happiest 5K on the Planet,” runners hit the starting line wearing all white and quickly morph into rainbows in motion. At each kilometer, racers are dusted with a different hue of color powder, which is made with cornstarch and is 100 percent safe and natural. For the color-crazed, stick to the “high color lanes.” For those only interested in a light dusting, run in the center “low color lane.” The series is offered in 50 cities and isn’t timed, taking pressure off newbies and seasoned runners alike. Extra Crazy: Experience even more color explosions at the finish line as racers toss the dust provided in their race packets. Enter Now: Find a race at thecolorrun.com. Enter solo ($40-$55) or as a team ($35-$50).
The Naked Foot 5K
Though its name might suggest otherwise, this series, which takes place in 10 cities nationwide, is open to all shoe preferences: from regular running kicks to completely bare. Race course terrain varies from city to city, and can include grass, sand, trails and pavement. Racers are encouraged to donate a pair of shoes (new or used) to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that provides shoes to those in need. Extra Crazy: The self-proclaimed “ultimate outdoors lifestyle festival” aims for zero waste at each event, which means instead of traditional goody bags, runners get “virtual goodybags.” Also, Minneapolis, Austin and Santa Barbara are adding a paddleboarding element to their races. Enter Now: Find a race at thenakedfoot5k.com. Entry is $25 – $40.
Santa Speedo Run
Don a holiday-colored swimsuit and festive flair (tinsel, bows and lights), and then dash through the December air for a good cause in one of several Santa Speedo Runs across the country: Atlanta, Boston and Chicago are all in on the fun. Each run benefits a local charity, and most are no longer than a mile, ending at a warm and welcoming watering hole. Extra Crazy: Sign up as an individual or a team. Team names get a little nutty with monikers like “Jiggle All the Way” and “Punch Drunk.” Also, Speedo-like suits are required; thongs are prohibited. And Santa hats and other holiday flair are encourage but not mandatory. Enter Now: Though registration for most races doesn’t begin until mid September, you can learn more here: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago. Entry is typically $30 – $40.