Are You Brave Enough? Five of the Most Daring Fun Runs on the Calendar
Running events with a side of fun have become commonplace these days. Most race calendars overflow with a multitude of mud runs, color runs and just about any variation of running that the mind can conceive. And although slogging through a mud pit definitely requires some level of guts, there is a handful of runs that require an extra large helping of boldness to complete. So do you think you’re brave enough? Here are five of the most daring fun runs on the calendar.
The Burro Days pack burro race takes place annually in Fairplay, Colorado. The rules of this race are quite extensive, but basically boil down to covering either a short (approximately 15 miles) or long (approximately 28-30 miles) course with a burro as a running partner. And just in case you’re wondering, a burro is a very specific kind of donkey. It has “chestnuts on the forelegs only, while other animals of the same species, such as mules or horses, have them on hind and forelegs. The tail also has no hair, except on its lower part, which has a brush”.
The challenge of this run therefore doesn’t lie in covering the race distance yourself. Instead, it lies in coaxing your (often stubborn) four-legged companion to do the same. The winning runner-burro team is required to cross the finish line as a unit, with each team’s time recorded when the burro’s nose crosses the line.
And if you’re worried about the donkeys’ welfare, there’s no need for concern. A registered vet is on duty before, during and after the race to ensure that all burros are healthy. Strict anti-cruelty regulations are also in place and are rigorously enforced.
The forward-looking mayor of the town of Mataelpino in Spain has come up with a cruelty-free, cost-effective alternative to bull runs as part of the town’s annual festival. He calls it Boloencierro Mataelpino. Derived from the Spanish words “bolo”, meaning ball, and “encierro”, or bull run, the ball-run concept has received praise from around the globe.
But what exactly does it entail? Well, instead of being chased down the streets by real, live bulls, festivalgoers run away from a gigantic, 3 m-wide, 200 kg polystyrene ball. And although this might sound like a proverbial walk in the park, previous participants state the opposite. People who don’t dodge the ball risk cuts and scrapes from falling, and may even end up with concussion.
Four other Spanish towns have since caught on to the boloencierro trend. And, judging by the success of Boloencierro Mataelpino, we won’t be surprised if there’s even more in the pipeline.
Cupid’s Undie Run
But what if running with donkeys and giant polystyrene balls isn’t your cup of tea? Then how about braving a challenge of a different kind in aid of the Children’s Tumour Foundation? The organisers of the Cupid’s Undie Run challenge participants to complete a 1(-ish) mile run in their underwear. But why in underwear? The reasoning behind baring some skin is based on the fact that children living with tumors often can’t hide or cover up these growths. Runners are therefore asked to skip covering up for the event as a gesture of support for affected children.
A staggering $3.5 million was raised by this run series in 2016 alone to support neurofibromatosis research. And, based on the success and popularity of the undie runs, it appears as if plenty more funds will be raised for this worthy cause in future.
Cupid’s Undie Run currently takes place annually in 51 cities across the US and Australia on or around Valentine’s Day. So if this is a cause close to your heart, grab a buddy and get registering!
Caliente Bare Dare 5K
And if the thought of baring even more skin doesn’t make you flinch, then the Caliente Bare Dare 5K might be for you. The eighth edition of this annual race is scheduled for May 7, 2017 at the clothing-optional Caliente resort just north of Tampa, FL. And yes, you’ve guessed it: The race is clothing optional too.
Approximately 400 runners (with roughly a 38% female and 62% male ratio) are expected to participate in the 2017 edition of the race. And, if you’re planning to attend, rest assured that media coverage of the race is prohibited in order to ensure the privacy of runners. Official finish times are also not published online.
Also keep in mind that, despite the fact that clothing is optional for the race, organizers highly recommend wearing sunscreen and running shoes.
Empire State Building Run-Up
Even though this one strictly doesn’t really qualify as a fun run, it certainly is daring. The 40th edition of this grueling, 1 576 stair race took place in February this year. And although covering a vertical distance of only one fifth of a mile may sound easy, some consider this event to be the ultimate test of human endurance. The fastest male runner managed to scale the building’s 86 floors in a time of 10:31 in 2017, with the fastest female clocking a time of 12:11.
Only a few hundred spots are available for the challenge every year. And while numbers are strictly limited, congestion of the staircase is a given. “You can see people getting trampled, their faces smashed into the floor. It’s like trying to run out of a nightclub that’s on fire.” Still keen?
So if you’re looking for a different kind of running challenge, consider giving one of these runs a try. Not only will most of them guarantee a good workout plus plenty of laughs, but they might also be just what you need to fan that running flame. See you at the starting line!