Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not your average road races

As anyone can attest, being sick is no fun.

I've been working through a flu bug the last few days, presumably whatever has been going around the office lately. It's nothing major, mostly just a sore throat and a stuff nose. Still, it's not exactly optimal conditions to go outside for a long run or bike ride (the main reason why I haven't posted much lately, apologies to my readers).

If there's one benefit for a busy-body like me to derive from being sick, at the very least, it's an excuse to take it easy for a few days.

And take it easy I have. In the last few days, I've burned through a season of 'Seinfeld' on DVD, finished reading 'Slaughterhouse Five,' and embarked on a wonderful search through Google for strange and odd races to sign up for.

It's the last part of those occurrences that leads me to this post. The search was initially provoked by a Facebook message from a friend of mine to sign up for the Warrior Dash 5k next summer in Hastings. For those that are unaware of it (myself included, prior to the message), the Warrior Dash isn't so much a 5k as it is a battle of attrition through an obstacle course. Throughout the race, you climb a rope net, crawl through mud, repel down a ravine, climb up hay bales and jump over a fire pit.

Needless to say, I'm intrigued by it.

After running my fair share of normal road races and triathlons, they all kind of start to feel the same. It's not that I'm looking for something more challenging (believe me, Grandma's Marathon was tough enough and I can't even fathom doing a full Ironman). Rather, I'm interested in road races that are completely unique from your average 5K.

A quick browsing revealed the following:

  • This health and fitness features website has a running series titled "World's 10 most Interesting & Unusual races" (I know, easy one to find on Google). I couldn't find all 10 races on the website, but it included a marathon on the Great Wall of China and a 24-hour mountain bike race through the desert in Utah. Considering their races are a more challenging brew, I'd be curious to see if the Leadville 100 is among their other choices.
  • A blog on Gear Junkie's website (essentially a company specializing in outdoor gear) had an entry about the World's Weirdest Footraces. This one was a little more up my ally. It featured everything from a 100k race in Antartica, to a nude 12k race through San Francisco and a 'Tough Guy' race through mud, maneure and other obstacles in England. For Minnesotans who don't want to travel that far, the North Star State has its own weird foot race to enjoy: The Arrowhead 135 winter run. Stretching from International Falls to Tower, the two-day event takes place at the end of January and is considered among the coldest races in the world (the temperatures reportedly got down to more than 35 below zero one year).
Intriguing? Absolutely. Slightly insane? Possibly.

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