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Athletes who are bored of monotonous road 5Ks should challenge themselves with an innovative obstacle course competition. More people are flocking to unusual races to experience something out of the ordinary. These nine crazy competitions test endurance, agility, problem-solving and grit.


1. Tough Mudder
Perhaps the most famous obstacle course race, the Tough Mudder has upped the ante by adding endurance competitions and Tough Mudder X, a race that promises to crown “the fittest athlete in the world.”


2. Savage Race
The six-mile Savage Race squeezes in more than 25 obstacles. These involve icy water, monkey bars, and a seesaw tunnel contraption called the “Teeter Tuber.”


3. Epic Series Obstacle Challenge
Epic’s course is only about 400 meters–the size of a regular track. They advertise “more fun, less run.” Participants race a lap carrying something heavy, charge through more than 30 obstacles, then race another lap.


4. Civilian Military Combine
This grueling military-themed test was designed by CrossFit coaches and military professionals. It begins with five minutes of strength exercises, followed by a five-mile obstacle course race.


5. Spartan Race
The Spartan Race uses local terrain to create one-of-a-kind challenges. Competitors can tackle the Sprint (3-5 miles), Super (8-10 miles), or Beast (12-14 miles) level race. Spartan hosts competitions in more countries than any other race. Disclaimer: Practice your burpees before this one!


6. Zombie Mud Run
Runners don flag football belts with three flags representing their vital organs: heart, brain, and entrails. “Zombies” prowl the course, trying to seize flags while competitors also battle through mud and other obstacles.


7. Warrior Dash
This 5k race is packed with 12 obstacles. Racers leap over fire, crawl under barbed wire, and escape from a floating “island.” Warrior Dash raises money for St. Jude’s Children Hospital, making it a great option for anyone who wants to have fun while helping a worthy cause.


8. BoneFrog Challenge
Navy SEALs (“frogmen”) created BoneFrog to inspire civilians to chase excellence. There are 3-mile, 6-mile, and 9-mile races, as well as an endurance contest. Each race features SEAL-style obstacles at every quarter mile.


9. Rugged Maniac
The founders of Rugged Maniac hit gold on “Shark Tank” in 2014, and the rest is history. This obstacle race is more an extravaganza, with pre- and post-race festivities for the whole family.

These courses may be difficult for someone who is just beginning their fitness journey and hasn’t yet developed the necessary strength and endurance. Nevertheless, they are as fun as they are challenging.