Runner’s Butt in 2017: 5 Obstacle Races That Will Kick Your Ass

Get muddy, get icy, and, most importantly, get fit.

Obstacle races
Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Staff/Getty Images

For those seeking a fitness challenge, a simple 5K or 10K race isn’t enough. They need difficulty, they need obstacles, they need mud. Obstacle course races are spreading all across the country and if you’re looking to join the movement, these are the five adventures you should know about.


Spartan Race

Now part of a featured NBC show, the Spartan Race is one of the biggest and widely available obstacle runs for adventurers nationwide. It has even gone international, with races in Taiwan, Canada and Chile.

The Spartan has multiple options as well for beginners and experts. One possibility is the Spartan Sprint, a three-plus mile race that includes more than 20 obstacles. For those seeking a bigger challenge, there’s the Spartan Super (a distance of more than eight miles and features 25-plus obstacles) and Spartan Beast (12-plus miles, 30-plus obstacles).


The ultimate course, however, is the Spartan Ultra Beast, which is a literal marathon (26-plus miles) and confronts runners with more than 60 obstacles to face. “Every Spartan Race is a baptism. The Ultra Beast is considered an exorcism,” reads the race description. Better say your prayers.


Warrior Dash

This obstacle race is the perfect choice for beginners and intermediate runner alike. With more than two and half million racers since 2009, this obstacle course has reinvented the 5K run. Boasting 12 world-class obstacles from the Goliath to the Fisherman’s Catch, you will be rewarded with a frothy pint and a Viking hat for completing this race.

Tough Mudder

Another popular and well-known obstacle race is the Tough Mudder. Perhaps you’ve seen friends share their post-race selfies dripping in mud and wearing the orange headbands associated with the event. The 10-12 mile race challenges racers with such obstacles as the “Block Ness Monster,” an arctic pit with 10 tons of freezing ice, rope swings, and more. The Tough Mudder, as the website promotes, is about team work. This is a race near impossible to complete solo. You will need the help of fellow runners around you and you will need to help them if any of want any hope of finishing this beast of a race.

Zombie Mud Run

Consider the Zombie Mud Run focused on something these other races aren’t: fun. Not to say you won’t enjoy yourself otherwise at the other course found on this list, but the Zombie Mud Run claims it’s “probably the funnest event on the planet.” This race includes the mud, the obstacles, the length of others, but adds brain-eating zombies chasing you for extra difficulty. Not only do you have to complete the course, you must finish with all your flags to save the human race. No pressure.

Savage Race

This barbaric course claims the title of most obstacles per mile of any race on this list. With 12 races per year, and a 81.6% completion rate, Savage Race keeps its namesake with obstacles like the 43-foot tall Colossus quarter pipe and the Big Ass Cargo Net, which is exactly what you think it is. Savage Race isn’t really geared for beginners, this race will test you to your limits.