The world’s funnest Fun Runs
Enjoy running for fun? Nah. But wait, what if your run involved zombies, a glass or two of vino or (the ultimate exercise sweetener) Mickey Mouse!
Here’s a list of the worlds craziest, most entertaining events that will have you pounding the pavement (or winery trail or way-above-sea-level mountain track) before you know it.
Fun for booze hounds
OK, let’s start off with a très fun one. If you’re a fan of red wine and cheese, head to Bordeaux in France for their annual Marathon du Medoc. This world-famous event takes costumed punters on a journey through the region’s most breathtaking vineyards, where the strenuousness of the day’s activities is amply sweetened by the 23-odd drinking posts you’ll encounter along the way. Santé!
Fun for apocalypse fans
Love everything spooky? Then you’ll love this zombie-infested dash (appropriately titled Run for Your Lives), that involves negotiating five kilometres of mud (and blood) covered obstacles amid the charming company of a few brain-eating predators. Event organisers invite you to ‘join the horde of the infected’ as you race towards the Apocalypse Party, where you’ll celebrate your survival or zombie transformation.
Fun for snow bunnies
If you love cold weather sports, then buckle up for the Siberian Black Ice Race held in Irkutsk, Russia. Competitors in this two-week hell–fest race atop the frozen surface of Lake Baikal (the oldest and deepest in the world), amid minus 40 degree temperatures and 200 kilometre an hour winds. You know you’re in for a fun time when it’s marketed as “longer than England, colder than vodka and harder than granite.”
Fun for the kiddies at heart
Touted as the ‘most magical race on earth’, the 42-kilometre RunDisney takes in four of the state’s Walt Disney World theme parks, including Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom. Find your happy place at the Happiest Place on Earth as you pose for photos and collect high-fives from a host of characters along the way. Your reward? A Mickey Mouse Finisher Medal!
Fun for those who like to get their gear off
Held annually since 2003, Finland’s Nakukymppi eloquently translates as the country’s premier ‘nude sport event’. Enjoy a naturist’s run or a Nordic walk (yes, there is such a thing) through 10 kilometres of pristine forest sans clothing. Shoes, socks and hats are allowed as well as a little something up top if you’re a ladylike type and (I quote) “your breasts are shaking too much”.
Fun for the dirty ones
If you consider yourself a bit of a bad ass, then take a crack at Tough Mudder, an 18-kilometre-long playground for adrenaline junkies, featuring a series of gruelling obstacles that will test your stamina, physical strength and mental grit. With events held around Australia, this race has no ‘winners’ as it’s all about “accomplishing something that is almost as tough as you are”.
Fun for horsey types
Concocted in 1980 during a chat over a few pints in the back of a Welsh pub, the Man versus Horse Marathon is a 35-kilometre cross-country event (think hilly farm tracks, open moors and gnarly forestry roads) between, yep, man and beast. Your possible claim to fame with this one could be being only the third human ever to beat your equine competition (it took 25 years for the first).
Fun for animal lovers
If you’re prefer to lock horns with slightly wildebeest, then head to Limpopo Province for the Big Five Marathon, where you can tackle 42 kilometres of South African savannah in the company of the odd elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion or rhino. This run gets bonus points because of the fact that there are no rivers or fences separating you from the wildlife, which probably means you’ll be trotting along a tad faster than normal.
Fun for competitive eaters
Only in NYC could a race revolve around the downing of a slab of mystery meat encased in a bun. That’s a hot dog, people. The Rogue Runners Challenge may seem like a paltry dawdle in the (Central) park, however in order to succeed, competitors need to chomp through no less than ten hot dogs along the way, whilst annihilating four kilometres as fast as possible.
Fun for arty types
Good, clean fun? Yawn. Turn your run technicolour with a spot in The Colour Run, a zany splashfest held annually Australia-wide. Launched in 2012 (it was founded in the US the year before), competitors start the frivolity wearing white and end the five-kilometre dash splattered in a rainbow of colours (courtesy of a gang of powder throwing volunteers).
Fun for thrill-seekers
The US-based Warrior Dash involves five kilometres and 12 or so ‘obstacles of hell’. With names such as Alcatraz, Dead Man’s Drop and Warrior Roast, the course basically involves scaling four metre high walls, leaping over flames and wading through a plethora of slime-like muddy trenches. Your reward? A finisher medal (that doubles as a wall-mountable bottle opener) and an ice-cold beer.
Fun for those who want to step up
Offering a true exercise high, this 1576-stair sprint up one of New York’s most iconic buildings is not for the faint hearted. The Empire State Building Run-Up finishes at the 88-flights up observation deck and participation is a ‘luck of the draw’ scenario, where lottery winners can bag one of the race’s few hundred spots. Your aim? Beat the 9 minute and 33 second record set by an Aussie in 2003.
Fun for mountain men (or women)
And let’s sum up all this craziness with an event that’s probably less ‘fun’ and more like ‘fun when it’s over’. With most race challenges, competitors struggle to get to the finish, however with the Everest Marathon you’ll probably be struggling to get to the start.
Beginning in Gorakshep (an uninhabited village at the base of the highest mountain in the world), participants hike for 15 days prior to race day to acclimatise. And once you’re set, there are a few other down sides.
Like altitude sickness, avalanches and hypothermia. Now that’s fun.