From mud runs and half marathons to 5Ks and festive costume competitions, there’s a race out there just begging you to cross its finish line. So whether you’re looking for something with a little more competitive spirit or just a chance for you and the gals to try something new, check out the coolest races in the world that have us lacing up our colorful running shoes and strapping on our race bibs.
1. The Color Run: Coined the “Happiest 5K on the planet,” this color-charged 5K is quickly becoming a classic. More of a leisurely jog through a cloud of color than a competitive road race, there’s a Color Run going down in more than 100 cities across the US. (Photo via The Color Run)
2. Cooper River Bridge Run: Connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant, the Arthur Ravenal Jr. Bridge is the third-longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western hemisphere, and you get to run every inch of it during this 10K. (Photo via @cooperriverbridgerun)
3. Hood to Coast Relay: Grab your girls: You ladies have some work to do. Your 12-person team will need to cover 200 miles of Oregon roadside. With over 18,000 participants, Hood to Coast is the largest running relay in the world and takes place every August. (Photo via @htcrelay)
4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Series: Aside from the fact that you can find a Rock ‘n’ Roll race just about anywhere in the country, every race includes live bands and a big-name concert after you cross the finish, because we can use all the distraction we can get while running a marathon. The belle of the ball? Las Vegas. A night race on the strip in the city that never sleeps? Yes, please! (Photo via Rock ‘n’ Roll)
5. Bay to Breakers: How do you say no to a race that’s more than 100 years old? Originally organized to lift residents’ spirits after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the race has transformed into a kooky, wacky, costume-mandated, sometimes-nudity-driven footrace that draws in tens of thousands of participants from all over the world. (Photo via @zapposbaytobreakers)
6. Run Woodstock: Marketed as “a celebration of freedom and fitness,” the weekend is filled with yoga, camping, tie-dye and live music. Plus, the Flower Power 5K and Hippie Half make running seem so much easier than it actually is. (Photo via Woodstock Festival)
7. Krispy Kreme Challenge: Organized by NC State University students, the Krispy Kreme challenge is “the test of physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude.” Participants have one hour to run five miles and eat a dozen glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It’s otherwise known as our dream Saturday plus five miles. (Photo via Krispy Kreme Challenge)
8. Dirty Girl 5K: This three mile, women-only obstacle course is built for badass babes. With more than 20 cities hosting a mud run in 2016, you and your squad have plenty of time to start training. (Photo via Dirty Girl)
9. A Christmas Story Run 5K/10K: Lace ’em up, ya filthy animals. This December 5K and 10K race takes you through the streets of Cleveland, passing by the house where they filmed the original movie of the same name. Dressing up like a leg lamp highly encouraged. (Photo via A Christmas Story Run)
10. Cupid’s Undie Run: This Valentine’s Day, take it all off — for a good cause, of course. Strip down to your bare essentials and race through the one-mile course. Everyone is running for the afterparty, and the majority of participants were at the pre party. Proceeds from the race benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation. (Photo via Cupid’s Undie Run)
11. Disney Princess Half Marathon: If being a hot sweaty mess after throwing down for 13.1 miles makes you a real-life princess (which, um yes), then here’s your chance to call yourself Cinderella. This half-marathon encourages dress up, its bystanders include Mickey and Minnie and it takes place at the happiest place in the world. It’s win, win, win. (Photo via Run Disney)
12. Hot Chocolate 15K/5K: This is NOT a test. This is an actual race that revolves around chocolate. Which helps makes up for the fact that the race takes place in the coldest months of the year in 20 cities across the country. (Photo via @hotchocolate15k)
Runners unite! Tweet us which races your tackling in 2016 at @BritandCo!