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Give the Gift of Fun and Pain

Season’s Greetings! Are you scrambling to find a memorable gift for a friend or family member this holiday season? I have a great suggestion for you. There will be no more memorable gift than an entry to an Obstacle Course Race. I guarantee, for good or bad, the recipient will never forget it.

I have completed many different events and have written race summaries for Sunwarrior last racing season. I believe anyone can participate in these events and will have a great time doing so. Admission usually includes a shirt, finisher medal, free beer at the finish line, a sense of achievement, and memories that will last forever. Professional photographers also post your pictures for sale after the race. I have compiled a brief summary of some nationwide events that would be a great gift. I also think that this will be a great kick start for those looking for motivation towards their annual January 1st diet.

Warrior Dash www.warriordash.comToughness level - 4/10

This entry level race is a perfect beginner’s race. The Warrior Dash is a 5k race that is usually run for fun. The highlight is the after party with many dressing in costume for this one. They typically have some well-known bands playing at the after party. It’s reasonably priced, a good time, and anyone can complete this race—my brother ran this with me when he was 14. This would be a great gift for just about anyone. Tough Toughness level - 8/10

This race is tougher than most. It is also the most popular. All races are 12 miles with around 30 obstacles. This is not a timed event and it is encouraged to be run as a team. I completed one this year and saw people of all shapes, sizes, and ages completing it. Be prepared to be able to run 12 miles. I would suggest this for your more athletic friends. Spartan Toughness level - 9/10

This is my favorite. They have different races for different challenges. Sprints are typically 3–5 miles with 15 obstacles. Supers are 8–10 miles with 20 obstacles. Beasts are 12+ miles with 25 obstacles. These are very challenging and a load of fun. They just held an event at Fenway Park that was a huge success. I had an out of shape friend participate because he was a huge Red Sox fan and he had a great time. They are very well organized and professional. I would definitely weight train for this one. This again is a tougher event. I would suggest trying an easier one first. Run For Your Toughness level - TBD, guessing 5/10

I’m signed up with friends to complete this race in June. I can't wait. I’ve been told this 5k zombie run is a blast. You wear flags that are considered your health and zombies chase you and take a flag from your flag belt. You can sign up as a runner or as a zombie. The video on the website is insane. After watching it you might think I’m nuts—join the club. I am real excited for this one. I believe this is more fun than competitive.

SuperHero Scramble Toughness level - TBD, guessing 7/10

This event is evolving into a racing series with plans to have different levels like Spartan Race. Typically it’s a 4–6 mile obstacle race encouraged to be run dressed as a superhero. I have heard this is a great race and I can't wait to sign up. I have been told this is fun yet competitive.

Hero Rush Toughness level - TBD, guessing 6/10

This is a 5k with firefighter inspired obstacles and has grown enormously in popularity over the past year. I'm signed up for it in August. I have heard that this is a step up from Warrior Dash. Anyone can run this.

Civilian Military Combine Toughness level - TBD, guessing 8/10

This is really cool. This event is broken down into two parts: the pit and the obstacle course. The pit involves strength exercises at different stations. You are awarded points depending on how many reps you can complete. The obstacle course race is timed and you receive points for that as well, giving you a cumulative score. So basically, if you are weak in one area you can make up for it in the other. I have talked to many people who have done this and they loved it. I am waiting for their schedule to become available to complete this next season.

The following are Fun Runs with no obstacles: Color Run

This is a 5k which involves runners wearing white and having natural, colored paint powder thrown at them at different points of the race. After writing that, it doesn’t sound too cool anymore, but it really is fun. The video on the website pretty much sums it up. This will also be a good event to get accustomed to running in a race.

Electric Run

This looks so cool. You run at night with all neon fluorescent attire. Based on videos I have seen, it looks like a really cool time. I may try this in NYC this year. Also, the video on their homepage almost hypnotized me into signing up.

The above races are just suggestions of some very well-known races. There are also many smaller local races emerging. You always run the risk of signing up for a new event and being disappointed with the lack of professionalism. It takes a lot to make these events run smoothly. I hope that some of you take my advice and sign people up for these. I am positive it will be a memorable time. So be the most talked about gift giver this year—sign someone up for a day they will never forget! Happy Holidays!

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