5 Unique Races You Didn’t Know You Could Run

We’ve grown accustomed to the classic 5k or the ever popular marathon trend, but what if strictly running isn’t your jam? You’re not alone, and you’re most definitely not out of luck! These days, races take on all shapes and sizes when it comes to the types of challenges you can take on, and they’re beyond exciting. These days, you can let your inner artist or wine enthusiast run wild (pun intended!) in some of the most creative and fun races of our generation. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered, from the spirit of the race type to everything you need to know about planning for a strong finish.

The Great Inflatable Race

Races don’t always need to be a competition—in fact, they can be both fun and empowering instead! The original inflatable fun run, the Great Inflatable Race focuses on the power of health, community and positivity to build strength and social change. Races vary between one mile and 5K, so there are options for everyone. And because the course is filled with giant inflatable obstacles, the race is fun and safe for every ability level. There’s even a separate inflatable village, so you can continue the bouncy fun long after you cross the finish line. 

Run For Your Lives

If you’re a thrill seeker looking for a new way to take on the doomsday survival trend, look no further than the Run For Your Lives race. This creatively orchestrated event offers the excitement of your favorite zombie apocalypse fantasy with adrenaline-packed experiences full of muddy (and bloody!) obstacles. How does this game shake out exactly? It’s all about the strategy. You begin the race with three flags, representing your speed and health. Once your journey begins, you’ll be faced with challenging water obstacles and the added thrill of live zombies ready to crack your mental focus. When you finally make it to the finish, you’ll be rewarded with a medal to celebrate your victory, and the option to venture out to an unforgettable after party.

The New York Hot Dog Challenge

You can have your race, and eat it, too! Calling all eating contest lovers: this race is for you. Over the course of three to five miles, you’ll be required to check in at a hot dog stand and eat a hot dog with a bun before heading out again along the course. Even better? The prize consists of cash! (The amount varies, based on donations, and is divided equally between top male and female competitors ). Bring your appetite, cheer squad, and get ready for a yummy twist on your standard road race!

Thailand SUP Festival

Love standup paddleboarding? The Thailand SUP Festival is a six-kilometer race that includes paddling, running obstacles and much more. There are options for sprint races, team relays and even one for families. It’s a total destination race too, as the course is held on the island of Phuket. The excitement doesn’t stop at the finish line either—you’ll get to enjoy a fun-filled barbecue immediately after. Grab your fellow paddle enthusiasts, and sign up for a picturesque and thrilling race you’ll never forget!

Charity Paddle Race For Napa Sonoma Fire Victims

There’s nothing more powerful than coming together to support others in a time of need, and the SUP Run Race in the Bay Area is shifting their race this year to support the victims of the Napa and Sonoma fires that occurred earlier this year. The $30 entry fee will go toward raising money to help families affected by this tragedy as well as supplementing rebuilding efforts. The primary race is made up of four miles of paddling and four miles of running along the San Francisco Bay, with several other shorter options and relay opportunities. There’s power in community, so grab your race buddies and work together for this incredible cause!

Mandy Gragg is a San Francisco-based personal trainer/group fitness instructor and a fitness fashion and beauty blogger.