Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Racheal_Bailey_of_Akna_K9_Academy_with_two_of_her_running_dogs.jpg Photo by Akna (Wikimedia Commons)
Running has become a very popular hobby that helps keep people in good physical condition. Incorporating running into your workout routine can help improve your cardiovascular health, increase heart rate and blood flow, and aid in weight loss. The impact of running also helps to strengthen our bones. Furthermore, running can help improve our mood, it can increase our ability to focus, it can boost our immune system, and it can even increase our sex drive. The body is an incredible machine that really takes in all of the benefits that running has to offer.
Many people train for many months at a time to compete in runs in their hometowns or around the world. These events come in many forms. For instance, there are 5Ks, which are 3.1 miles long, 10Ks, which are 6.2 miles long, half-marathons, which are 13.1 miles long, and full marathons, which are 26.2 miles long. Finishing a race is a great achievement in a person's life, but it isn't always about getting a medal at the end. Many people run races simply because they enjoy them or because the races are tied to a fun theme or activity or benefit an important cause. There are plenty of unusual marathons and other races out there that make participating fun for everyone, regardless of whether or not they have ever run before.
Fun on Two Legs and Four
Before the rise of fun themed runs, many people viewed running as a strenuous and difficult activity. While it is true that running is not easy, that does not mean that it should not be fun. Themed running events can make training and participating in them more fun. This type of running event can come in many forms. Some of the most popular include color runs, in which people throw colored powder at the runners so they finish the race covered in a rainbow of hues; inflatable runs, which contain obstacle courses made of giant inflatable structures; and runs with pets. Some of the best runs have activities every few miles where runners can participate for prizes. Other great runs across the country feature costume competitions where runners come in dressed in their best. Other runs are very specific in their theme, from zombie chases to runs wearing only underwear. And some events are most notable for their setting, like ones that are held along a beach or around a famous landmark.
Going the Distance for a Good Time
For those who aren't intimidated by the idea of running 26.2 miles, there are many unusual marathons worth putting on your bucket list. If you are looking to take in some remarkable scenery while you pound the pavement, try running the Honolulu Marathon, or really challenge yourself by running the Pikes Peak Marathon. There is even a marathon near Mount Everest, which can really take you to new heights! If you are not interested in scenery but instead want to participate in a run that is more on the wild side, try the Jingle Bell Run. This marathon features runners dressed to the nines in their holiday best. Similarly, Boston's SS Run features runners dressed in a variety of Santa costumes, which make it really easy to get into the holiday spirit. For huge fans of the Yellow Brick Road, the Garmin Marathon in Kansas brings "The Wizard of Oz" to life and lets you run dressed as your favorite character. No matter whether you'd rather do a race that's scenic or silly, there's sure to be one out there that will satisfy you.
Preparation Is Key
Before you try out any of these running events, make sure that you're up to the challenge. There are many training programs available through places like gyms, community centers, and running equipment sellers that can help get you into shape for your first trip to the finish line. And don't forget your pet: If you're planning to do a pet-friendly running event, make sure to bring your pet along on your training runs, so they get used to running with you before the big day. Also, consider taking your pet for a complete checkup beforehand to make sure that they are in good health and able to take on the challenge.