Remember when you'd shell out $35 for the opportunity to run elbow-to-elbow with thousands of other weekend warriors, just to half-heartedly run a route that consisted of roped-off city streets and a couple of bridges? You'd get a decent T-shirt, maybe a goodie bag and screaming shins from pounding the concrete.
Recently, a new breed of recreational races has risen to prominence, effectively rendering regular 5K races useless. Incorporating mud-bathed courses, rope ladders, inflatable slides and — wait for it — zombies, here are the most interesting races coming to a street near you:
March 2, Grapevine
Getting plastered during a race? Doesn't sound like the best idea (well, it might as you read on), unless you're getting pelted with color instead of pickling your liver. By the end of the race, you will be a veritable Rainbow Brite as you look for the nearest bottle of water and banana. The cause is more than noble. Proceeds from the race benefit Rescueher.org, a group dedicated to ending human trafficking and to fighting the violation of women's rights across the globe.
ShamRockin' 5k Mud Run
March 9, Flower Mound
This race has more than three miles of muddy obstacles and, oh yeah, a zip line! Once this test of strength and endurance is over, you can refresh and rehydrate with green beer, of course. This takes place more than a week prior to St. Patty's Day, so there's plenty of time to recover before the main day of celebration rolls around.
Tap 'N Run
March 9, Dallas
With most races, beer is available after the course has been completed, but it's almost an afterthought as tired runners lug themselves across the finish line. At this race, you will be refreshed during the race with 6-ounce cups of beer. Not Gatorade or water. Beer. It's not just for breakfast anymore. It's for training. Who knew?
Also, the medal you receive as you cross the line doubles as a bottle opener. That's one piece of race swag that won't be lost at the bottom of a junk drawer anytime soon.
DFW Zombie Run
March 9, Fort Worth
This event combines all of the best parts of the aforementioned races but throws in a couple of crazy extra items of note: nighttime darkness and zombies. Freaking zombies, man. Runners are given a belt with four flags, which represent the runners lifespan during the race. Once running zombies get all of a runner's flags, that runner's brain is as good as eaten.
Of course, before that happens, you'll likely get muddy, and after you've been zombified, you get to drink some beer. So the undead know how to party too, it seems.