With complex obstacles, mud and colored powder, several upcoming running events offer twists to enhance runners’ adrenaline and challenge their mental toughness. Although it may be too late to prepare for the Austin Marathon on Feb. 14, there is still time to train for these four unconventional races happening near Austin.
When: March 5
Where: 394 Pleasant
Chapel Road, Cedar Creek, TX
The Warrior Dash is for anyone inspired by the hit show “Ninja Warrior.” The 5K race is plotted with 12 obstacles, ranging from a towering, climbable wall to a 100-foot stretch of mud lined with barbed wire. Finishers are rewarded with a bottle-opener shaped medal and a cold beer. Warrior Dash partnered with Saint Jude’s Research Hospital, giving participants the option to run and fundraise for a cause simultaneously.
5K RunDead Zombie Run
When: March 12
Where: 1042 Event Center Drive, Dripping Springs, TX
The people behind the RunDead Zombie race have a hunch — when runners realize a zombie hoard is chasing them, they’ll probably run for their lives. RunDead Zombie participants can choose to be a runner or a “zombie.” Runners attempt to reach the finish line without having their flag ripped from their waist, while zombies try to grab as many flags as possible. Prizes are rewarded to top finishers on both sides. More like a game than a traditional race, RunDead Zombie ensures each runner is not only exercising, but also having a good time. All of the event’s proceeds benefit scientific research on cancer and Alzheimer’s.
The Color Run
When: May 7
Where: 7311 Decker Lane, Austin, TX
Who wouldn’t want to run through a wall of powdered color? Color Run participants start with a pristine white shirt and finish every kilometer with a fresh coat of purple, yellow or blue powdered cornstarch. The color spectacle acts as a distraction from the race, designed to make runners feel like they are partaking in a festival. After the race, runners gather near the finish line to enjoy booming music and cold beverages.
When: May 21–22
Where: 290 Old Lake Road, Smithville, TX
Leave your clean, new sneakers at home for this race. The Tough Mudder is a 10–12-mile mud-covered course with 19 obstacles designed for the most serious adrenaline junkies. The obstacles are often demanding, with challenges such as the “Birth Canal,” a claustrophobic portion of the course in which runners are forced to crawl through mud with 100 pounds of sloshing water weighing on their back.