Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Zombie Evacuation

OBSTACLE RACES

Looking to take on an obstacle course race of your own? While most OCRs present a combination of running and obstacles, the degree of difficulty (and level of craziness) can vary greatly. Below, a look at some of the bigger race series and what you can expect from the starting line.

Supersize it

Spartan Races come in three sizes: They range from the Sprint (3 miles/20-plus obstacles) to the Super (8 miles/25- plus obstacles) to the Beast (12 miles/30- plus obstacles). For any obstacle that you fail to complete, you have a burpee penalty.

Don’t expect to leave clean

The 10- to 12-mile Tough Mudder is all about getting down and dirty. The “cage crawl” obstacle, for example, tests both physical and mental strength: Competitors lie on their backs and pull themselves through a long water trench, while under 60 feet of steel fencing. Teamwork is a must to get through the obstacles and across the finish line.

Feeling patriotic?

Show off your country pride in Battle Frog races, which are designed by Special Forces. The 8K course includes at least 25 obstacles in unique terrain to make them tough, fun, and challenging.

An awesome starter

The Warrior Dash is a 5K course with 12 obstacles designed to test all aspects of your fitness abilities. One sample obstacle: “Fisherman’s Catch” (cross 30 feet of cargo netting using monkey bars while suspended above a water pit). After you cross the finish line you’ll get a medal, T-shirt, fuzzy Warrior helmet, and an ice-cold beer.

Get in a workout while supporting a great cause at the same time. The 5K Rugged Maniac supports the American Cancer Society and allows you to raise funds or donate when you buy your ticket online. It has 25 obstacles like the “Speed Trap” and the “Gauntlet” that test your strength, balance, and speed.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES

Reebok-sponsored adaptive athlete Misty Diaz was born with a condition called spina bifida (or split spine), where her L5 vertebrae were damaged and her organs were on the outside of her body. Diaz has had 28 operations to help her become the runner, lifter, and obstacle course racer she is today. She’s completed more than 40 Spartan Races, earning eight
“trifectas” conquering the three main course lengths on separate days), plus she’s run more than 110 races, including the Zion and New York half-marathons. To build the strength necessary to power her crutches through any terrain, Diaz employs a variety of training styles. “I love working out my upper body by doing rope climbs, pull-ups, sled pushes, dips, pushups, using battling ropes, and flipping tires,” says Diaz.

In September 2016, she looks to do the seemingly impossible yet again by finishing the Red Bull 400, an international event where the objective is to climb a ski mountain with a 36-degree incline at nearly 7,000 feet altitude. “I love climbing hills and obstacles; it’s a great escape from the sitting-at-a-deskeveryday job!”

As Diaz travels the country achieving her fitness goals, she meets kids and adults with spina bifida and offers advice along the way. “Use your life and story as an opportunity to help others. Be loud about your progress and goals. Never give up.”

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