4 of the Best Adventure Races to Try This Summer

Summer is here, and it’s time to get outside and play. The days are longer, the temps are higher, and suddenly, everyone in town is out and about. Whether you’re working your way toward a healthier lifestyle or not, there’s no better time than now to ditch the carpool lane and hop on your bike, jog around the neighborhood, or take the local running path to work. As you contemplate upcoming plans for summer vacation, make sure you sing up for one of the many adventure races.

You’ve likely heard of adventure obstacle courses, so now it’s time to put your fitness to the test. Not only a great way for you to get inspired and stay in shape, these races are a fantastic way for groups of friends and family to embark on an awesome adventure together. Say goodbye to running solo on the treadmill. Here are four of our favorite events this summer.

1. Tough Mudder


Surge of participants at the start of a Tough Mudder | Source: Tough Mudder

As one of the industry’s leading obstacle events, there’s bound to be a Tough Mudder event somewhere in your neck of the woods, and we strongly recommend checking one out. For the person who likes to be outside and wants to get dirty, there’s no better place to show off your chops and test your physical strength than at one of these courses. Offering a full Tough Mudder and also a Tough Mudder Half, which is a shorter race with fewer obstacles, this event is no doubt the fun run you’ve been looking for, complete with an ice cold beer awaiting you at the finish line. Spanning the country, the Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile course with brutal obstacles that challenge your physical strength and mental grit, all for the sake of being better the next time around.

2. IDEA World EPIC Series Race

close-up of runners's feet as they compete in a race

Feet running in a race | Source: iStock

Taking place on July 16 in Los Angeles, The IDEA World EPIC Series Race is an adventure race that challenges athletes to push their limits with more than 25 obstacle challenges in intermediate and advanced variations. Fueled by Gatorade and Propel, the ALL LEVELS COURSE attracts a wide variety of racers, as it combines the best of obstacle course racing, boot camp, and functional fitness. Taking place at the IDEA World Convention, the EPIC Series race includes an indoor and outdoor course that routes competitors from inside the Challenge Arena to outside obstacles in downtown L.A. before crossing the finish line inside.

3. Spartan Race

Spartan Race has earned itself a reputation as a top adventure race event, and now there’s even more reason to register for a race near you. A new partnership between Spartan Race and Marriott Rewards affords fans of Friday Night Lights the chance to meet a handful of cast members, including Taylor Kitsch, Minka Kelly, Zach Gilford, and Aimee Teegarden. Marriott Rewards will offer racers exclusive, member-only tips and perks to fuel their training along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to race alongside the Friday Night Lights cast members at the Spartan Super just outside Chicago on June 11.

4. Pirate Plunder Adventure Race

Sweat, mud, and fun are what it’s all about at the annual Pirate Plunder, held on July 23 in Yakima. Occurring at Pirate’s Landing, this 5K race is home to 16 obstacles designed to challenge, inspire, and motivate people looking to take a leap off the couch and dive headfirst into the mud. Offering contestants the choice between timed runs or a 12 obstacle course in non-competitive heats, the Pirate Plunder is fun for all. There’s even a cold beverage waiting for you at the finish line. And of course, don’t forget to come in your best pirate regalia.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet: