What better time to go for a run than the middle of another sweltering summer in the South? Uhh … oh, yeah. Anytime, ever, anywhere. Still, we suit up in track shoes and tutus–I don’t get it either–and take to the parks, trails, streets, and spillways for a heart-pounding workout, often followed by some brew-pounding to boot.
But those of us who value air-conditioning and not having a heat stroke need a little encouragement to step out the door. (Sidenote: Heat stroke is a real thing, so, healthy folks, be sure to stay hydrated on those runs! We’ll do the same from our couches.)
The following runs–all heightened with a twist to make indoor people become outdoor people–range from fun to funny to insanely difficult. But all of them are as intriguing as they are Southern.
DRENCH YOURSELF IN MUD AND RUN AROUND
You know how the best part of running is when you fall in a deep mud pit and have sticky mud clinging to your skin the entire time? Me neither, but the kooks over at Mud Mania in Wetumpka, Alabama decided that running wasn’t uncomfortable enough as is. This three-mile run is filled with more than 20 obstacles and enough mud to build a hut. Be prepared to clean your fingernails for weeks.
RUN AWAY FROM POLTERGEISTS AND OTHER MANIFESTATIONS OF EVIL
If the aspect of running that holds you back is the fact that you aren’t running from anything, then The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler in Orlando, Florida is for you. Disney’s Hollywood Studios are filled with ghosts and ghouls, all seeking one thing: YOU. The extra adrenaline should make the last few miles a breeze, but good luck sleeping that night.
EAT A TON OF UNHEALTHY STUFF THEN GO RUN AROUND FOR A WHILE
If you’ve ever run on a full stomach, I’m guessing it wasn’t intentional. The Doughman in Durham, North Carolina throws that mindset out the window. Nothing like a bratwurst with gorgonzola cheese and kraut to fuel a jog. Nothing but a brick in the stomach, that is. The race is split into four sections, including the absolutely bellyache-inducing swimming leg. It’s taking a year off but will return in 2015 with new gut-wrenching challenges.
RUN AWAY FROM ATHLETIC WOMEN ON ROLLER-SKATES HOLDING PLASTIC BASEBALL BATS
In a city filled with dressy runs, this one takes the king cake. For those who need motivation in the form of Big Easy Rollergirls chasing them, San Fermin in Nueva Orleans is just the ticket. Don your white, wrap some red sashes around your body part of choice, down a beer or two from Erin Rose and run a couple miles, ducking and weaving to avoid the ignominious sting of a plastic bat on your bum.
RUN AROUND IN YOUR UNMENTIONABLES
Running clothes just aren’t revealing enough. That’s the idea behind Cupid’s Undie Run. In fact, it’s so popular, you can now run around in your undies in several Southern cities, including Baltimore, Charleston, Louisville, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, and Austin.
We’d love to hear of your favorite runs, be they crazy, hilarious, or self-persecuting to the max.
Southern Fried Column is a weekly column brought to you by Travis M. Andrews that focuses on the fun, the ridiculous, and the trending in these here Southern United States. Because sometimes home is a little absurd.