Running Like Crazy

Check out six sprints that mix fun with fitness.


While Disney’s annual marathon weekend (Jan. 8-14) is perhaps the best-known running event around, exercise enthusiasts can take part in other creative competitions to kick-start their year. Some require speed and stamina, while others test agility and humility. One, in particular, is guaranteed to color your world.

The Color Run—1/11
From the Church Street starting line, more than 1,000 white-T-shirt clad runners of all fitness levels walk, jog or run a 5k course through downtown, where volunteers douse them in yellow, orange, blue and pink powder (made from pure cornstarch) as they pass. Afterward, everyone gathers at the Finish Festival at the Florida Citrus Bowl where a DJ spins and more color flies through the air every 15 minutes. Participants can choose to donate part of the admission fee, which starts at $40 per person, to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

The Metropolitan Adventure Race—1/18
Part race and part urban scavenger hunt, this cerebral competition tests runners’ knowledge of Orlando history as they race through the city searching for clues and completing physical challenges like three-legged races and corn hole throws. Racers solve as many mysteries as they can within a three-hour period before returning to the start/finish line at Don Jefe’s Tequila Parlour. Runners can expect free beer and prizes, including plaques for the top 10 teams and prizes for best costumes. Cost is $30 per person for teams of two or three participants.

The Battle Dash—1/18 and 2/9
This 200-yard Winter Garden course tests the strength and stamina of racers competing for a $500 top prize as they traverse 15 obstacles, including rope climbs, commando lines and 15-foot tire walls. Earlier in the day, adventurists can compete in The Mile of Pain, a 30-obstacle course filled with mud pits and water soaks. A Doodle Dash is open to kids age 5 to 11. Various race fees apply.


Orlando Mud Mingle—1/25
This dirty dash held at Rock Springs Run State Reserve in Sorrento features a 5k and 10k course filled with 24 obstacles including rope swings, a mud dumpster, slip and slide, and a giant foam pit. “I like to call it a mud run for [newbies] because it’s supposed to be fun, silly and relaxed,” says organizer Garfield Griffiths, who mixes in margarita and bacon stations with the water stops. All of the 1,000-plus participants score a T-shirt, free beer and dog tags, plus winners receive Mason jars filled with mud. $69 per person.

Cupid’s Undie Run—2/15
Hundreds of underwear-clad racers take over Washington Street for this one-mile run to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Designed to put the “hilarity in charity,” most of the event is focused on the outdoor bash outside The  Beacham, where pantless partiers who raised at least $250 enjoy VIP open-bar status until 4 p.m. Registration by Jan. 14 is $35 per entrant.

Highlander VI—3/15
More than 100 obstacles stand in the way of victory at this event, held at the Roper Ranch in Winter Garden. Everything from mud crawls to Tarzan swings impede contenders, many donning Scottish attire, over 3- and 6-mile courses. Competitive and non-competitive registration options are available, as well as a Wee Highlander’s course for kids ages 5 to 11. While all racers receive medals and T-shirts, only the grand prize winner of this spectator-friendly event takes home the coveted William Wallace Sword. Registration fees from $69.

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