CALGARY- Pounding the pavement is a great way to stay fit, but those long runs can get boring, fast. With that in mind, a number of fun runs are coming to the Calgary area this summer, which have switched up the classic road race. From zombies to being colour-bombed, they’re a fantastic way to get some exercise, while making for a memorable day!
In a nod to the Walking Dead craze, Zombie Survivor not only sees runners conquer the 5 km, but also challenges them to ‘survive’ it. Each participant gets three flags (lives) and must get past the ‘zombies’ on the course. While most are ‘walkers’, some are so-called zombie chasers which move quicker than the average zombie.
Participants race through different zombie zones, including a junkyard and a military playground called Camp Blood, where they have to swing across monkey bars then wade through blood-red water. Runners who lose all their flags are ‘infected’ by zombies, but of course are still allowed to finish the race. The goal is to cross the finish line with at least one life left.
If running is not your thing and you still want to take part, you can also register to be a walker—as in a dressed-up, zombie walker!
- When: July 26
- Where: Cochrane Ag Society
- Cost: $65
With a slogan stating “The dirtier the better,” it’s clear this race is all about getting down and dirty. A rather challenging 5 km course sees runners navigate obstacles like sliding down a fire pole, climbing over walls, hoofing it up steep hills or slithering along the mucky ground to get past a low-hanging beam. The last leg features—what else—a giant mud pit. No matter how hard you try, there is no way to avoid getting totally covered in mud!
While it’s tough in some places, the Mud Run itself is all in the spirit of fun, and many runners show up in costumes and are cheered on by friends and volunteers. After getting (somewhat) hosed off, participants can grab an ice cold beer and enjoy live music to cap off the day.
- When September 6
- Where: Olds College Campus
- Cost: $55
Color Me Rad
Who wants to get colour-bombed?
The Color Me Rad race starts off with runners in pristine white shirts, and ends with what looks like a tie-dye experiment gone horribly wrong. This fun 5 km sees participants run through the course while getting pelted with colour bombs and colour cannons. There is even a colour mister tent, and colour blasters which are basically like a safe spray paint. While the idea of being covered head to toe in coloured chemicals may not sound like the healthiest idea, the colour is actually made up of perfectly-safe, non-toxic corn starch.
Once racers cross the finish line, they can get in on the fun themselves by throwing colour bombs at their fellow racers. Just be sure to pack a towel, to protect the car seat on the way home!
- When: June 28
- Where: Canada Olympic Park
- Cost: $50
CrossFit training comes in handy for those attempting a Spartan Race, as it’s all about pushing the limits while navigating a tough obstacle course. There are three different levels, including the Spartan Sprint which comes to Calgary this summer. The 5 km course features 15 obstacles—but going with the element of surprise, runners are not prepped on what to expect beforehand. However, past races have included rope climbs and barbed wire fences. Racers are timed, as well as judged on how they handle the course.
Can’t complete an obstacle, or fall? No problem…you’ll just have to do 30 burpees to make up for it!
- When: August 16 & 17
- Where: Wild Rose Motorcross Park, Calgary
- Cost: $55 and up
The Neon Run
What could possibly be more fun than being outfitted with fluorescent clothing, glow sticks and body paint, then running through “laser lightning” and fog while listening to upbeat music? That’s what The Neon Run is all about, and it just so happens to be one of the only ones that takes place after dark.
A similar race was recently featured on an episode of The Bachelor, launching it into popularity, and the event finally comes to Calgary for the first time this fall. The 5 km route is lined with UV black lights and performers, turning The Neon Run into more of a trance festival than a road race. There are also ‘neon zones’ where glow powder is sprayed all over the runners. Don’t worry, it washes off!
After the race, The Neon Run turns into the Neon Festival, featuring more live music, dancing, and of course, black lights.
- When: September 20
- Where: Spruce Meadows
- Cost: $41 and up
Electrodash, happening at Canada Olympic Park on Sept. 12