Do You Know About the World’s Most Unique Races?
Racing is serious business, but not all races are only about training hard, running fast, and touching the finishing line. Some running races are also about having fun while facing unique challenges. Here are a few exceptional running races that find takers across the globe.
1. Bay to Breakers
Bay to Breakers is an annual foot race held in the city of San Francisco, US. The race starts northeast downtown at Embarcadero, by the San Francisco Bay, and runs west to the Pacific Ocean over a course of about 12.1km. It is a historic run, which has been around for more than 100 years. It began in 1912 as an attempt to lift the city’s spirits after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. The 1986 edition of the race even set the Guinness record for the world’s largest foot race with 110,000 participants. This race is famous for its creative costumes — people dress up as their favorite superheroes, animals, or aliens, or just turn up in their regular attire to run.
2. Empire State Building Run-up
How many times have you been advised to take the stairs instead of the elevator? Well, this race makes you do just that. Held for the first time in 1978, the Empire State Building Run-up is the world’s first and most famous tower race. The race starts from the lobby, and the runners run 1,576 stairs upward over 86 flights to the observatory deck of the US landmark. While the elevator takes you to the observatory in under a minute, historically, runners have completed this task in about 10 minutes.
3. Running of the Bulls
Running of the Bulls is celebrated as a part of the San Fermín festival held in Pamplona, Spain. The festival takes place between July 7 and July 14 every year. During this period, the race happens every morning at 8 am. People put themselves in the path of six Spanish fighting bulls, with steers guiding them. The course is 826m, stretching from Corrales de Santo Domingo to the Plaza de Toros, and typically lasts between two to six minutes. The runs start with a release of rockets indicating the release of bulls and steers. Despite the risks involved, people believe this race is a chance to exhibit their bravery and experience an adrenaline rush.
4. Man vs Horse
In 1980, a landlord in Wales, UK overheard a discussion between two men at his pub that a man and a horse can run equally fast. To test the hypothesis, he organized the first event in 1980 and was swiftly proven wrong when horse rider Glyn Jones, who was riding on Solomon, beat Dic Evans by 43 minutes. Since then, humans have been able to outrun their four-legged competitors only twice; once in 2004 and once in 2007.
This race takes place every June in a small town in Wales, where runners and riders with their horses cover a distance of 24 miles (38.6km) and climb 4683ft through the town’s forestry tracks and trails.
5. Le Marathon du Médoc
Le Marathon des Châteaux du Médoc is a fun race that involves wine, food, and sports. The race is held every year in September in the vineyards of Médoc in Gironde, France. The race limits the registration to 8,500 participants who come from various parts of the world. It spans a 42.195km course and is restricted to runners only. If you prefer to walk, you can participate in the recovery ballad, which is 9km-10km long and is organized on a Sunday. Every year, the organizers announce the theme of the race, and participants are required to dress up accordingly; for instance, the 2022 edition will have the theme of ‘Cinema’. The route spans 59 vineyards and is interspersed with music bands, castle crossings, wine, oyster, cheese, grapes, and ice-cream tasting.
6. The Great British Beerathon
Love beer? Well, then this is the race for you. It takes place in London in August. The distance of the race is 5km with a lap of 1km having a pub at the beginning and end. Runners stuff themselves with pastries, pies, and pints at the pit stops, and one male and one female runner are declared winners.
7. The Zombie Mud Run
If you are wondering what a zombie apocalypse would feel like, then this is your chance to live the nightmare. The Zombie Mud Run is a 5K obstacle event held as a part of the ‘Shocktober fest’ in Reading, Pennsylvania, US. You can participate in the event as a Human, Zombie, Innocent Bystander (spectator), or Good Samaritan (volunteer). If you decide to participate as a Human, you’ll be given a flag football belt with three flags attached that represent three vital organs, which include the brain, heart, and entrails. If the Zombie takes away all your flags, it indicates that you have been infected with the virus and are disqualified. If you are participating as a Zombie, you can either be a Creeper (who walks slowly) or a Leaper (who runs fast).
8. Walt Disney Marathon
Imagine running with Mickey Mouse and Goofy and winning a Mickey medal! It’s a dream come true, right? The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is one-of-a-kind. This marathon takes place every year in January in Orlando, Florida. It includes races of varying distances – 5km, 10km, half-marathon, and marathon. The participants run through the Disney theme parks, which are interspersed with live entertainment, music, Disney characters, and fun challenges on the way.
9. Krispy Kreme Marathon
The Krispy Kreme Challenge is all about 12 doughnuts, 2,400 calories, 5 miles, and 1 hour. It is a unique challenge of physical fitness and gastrointestinal skills. Participants start the challenge at Memorial Belltower on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC, US. They first run a 2.5mile (4km) distance to the Krispy Kreme store located at the intersection of Peace and Person Streets, attempt to eat 12 doughnuts, and on a full stomach finish the 2.5 miles back to the starting point. And they do all this in an hour! However, this challenge is not just an exciting event, it is also about philanthropy. Every year, the challenge donates the money raised to the UNC Children’s Hospital, making it the hospital’s largest unrestricted donor.
10. Go Heritage Runs
If you are looking for a holistic experience that involves a run-vacation, then Go Heritage Runs are for you. It is an award-winning series of fun runs organized at various heritage sites across India such as Hampi, Ooty, Udaipur, and Hyderabad, among other locations. The runs are organized all-year-round and cater to a variety of distances including 5K, 10K, and half marathon. The objective of organizing these runs is to create awareness about heritage in a fun, engaging, and sporty manner.
Well, now that you have a variety to choose from, which unique race are you planning to participate in with your running buddies?
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