Some runners like to keep their races simple: a start line, a finish line and nothin’ but running in between. That’s cool. I can appreciate that kind of straightforwardness.
But I also appreciate mud, kilts, eye patches and inflatable obstacles. And beer (but of course)!
For you runners out there who also tlike to mix in a little something extra into an otherwise uncomplicated run, I give you this roundup of fun runs, mud runs, costumed runs and obstacle races. I’m not saying they’re easy races (I’d still gasp and pant my way through most of them) but we can at least distract ourselves from the gasping and panting with mermaid outfits, dirt and the promise of whoopie pies at the finish.
Thomas College Dirty Dog Mud Run
April 23. Thomas College, Waterville. $45, $5 “puppy run”
This 5K features 12 obstacles (like mud, cargo nets, mud, tire pulls, mud, mud, and mud). Also: wall climbs, bucket carries, and hills. Costumes encouraged.
Hard Cider Run
May 13. Starts and ends at Urban Farm Fermentory, Portland. $40, $52 with donuts! www.thehardciderrun.com
The course starts at UFF and follows the Bayside Trail, loops through Fish Point, and makes its way back along the Eastern Promenade to the fermentory (where cider awaits!). Finally – a delicious race reward my gluten-free friends can enjoy!
Mutt Strut 5K
May 27. Kennebec River Rail Trail, Augusta. $25 run/walk, $30 run/walk with dog! ($30, $35 with dog day of)
You know who loves to run and walk? Your dog! Bring your four-legged-BFF to the Mutt Strut 5K. All funds raised go directly to support more than 2,000 animals that find their way to the Kennebec Valley Humane Society annually.
The Color Dash
$40, team rates and VIP available
This is a family-friendly, untimed 5K with a focus on gettin’ colorful and having a good time. You’ll start off wearing your white Color Dash shirt, and at every kilometer you’ll be doused with blue, sprinkled with green, splashed with yellow, sprayed with orange.
Dynamic Dirt Challenge
June 4. Pineland Farms, New Gloucester. $65-$75
This 4+ mile obstacle course will certainly challenge you. It’s split into two categories – one for competitive racers and one for casual participants who are equally focused on coming up with cool team theme costumes and the finish line (but really it’s mostly about the costumes). There’s also a Dynamic Dirt Family Fest on June 3.
7 p.m. June 8. Southern Maine Community College, South Portland. $25 walkers, $35 runners, plus a $100 fundraising minimum.
Enjoy a sunset race course with Casco Bay Views in South Portland. There’s a 1.2-mile course for walkers and a 5K course for runners. The Twilight 5K finishes with live music provided by Tickle, awards, a pizza party, and beer tent provided by Shipyard Brewing Company.
Sailor and Sirens 5K
June 17. Start and End at The Franciscan Monastery, Kennebunk. $25 in advance, price increases for day-of registration
Dress up like a sailor, pirate or mermaid (hopefully with a tail designed for mobility) for this inaugural 5K in Kennebunk. The race starts and ends on the grounds of the beautiful Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunk, Maine. Wind down Beach Avenue to the waterfront and run in the sand toward character photo stops. (Don’t you love it when races build-in photo opp stops? I do.)
Craft Brew Races
July 1. Payson Park, Portland. $55-$65 for 5K and beer fest, $45-$55 festival only
Prices go up as the event gets closer.
Gotta love these words: “relaxed 5K.” Walkers welcome at the Craft Brew Races, which will take participants on a course around Back Cove. More importantly, the race is followed by a beer festival in Payson Park, with upwards of 40 craft breweries present. Beer fest-only tickets are also available.
5K Run by the Lake
July 5. Harrison Town Office, Harrison. $15 in advance, $20 day of. Discounts for Harrison residents.
Here’s what you need to know: Whoopie pies at the finish line!
July 15. Downtown Portland. $19 early-bird, $12 kids (prices increase as the event gets closer).
No actual running during the Dance Mile, but I’m including it here anyhow. Dance your way along the one-mile course. Zumba warm-up, bedazzling station, and post-dance party!
Color Me Rad
July 15. Simard-Payne Park, Lewiston. $15-$40
Run or walk this 5K. Either way, you’ll end up looking like you go into a fight with a box of sidewalk chalk. (You’ll have a ton of fun, too.)
July 15 (I think. The Celtic Festival is July 14-16 and the race is usually on Saturday, but the date hasn’t officially been posted yet). Belfast Waterfront.
5K run begins at Belfast Area High School and covers a relatively flat course through the lovely, picturesque and proudly historic neighborhoods of Belfast. Wearing of a kilt is optional (but why wouldn’t you?)
Also: Sprint after a wheel of cheese during the New World Cheese Roll Championship
on Sunday, also part of the Maine Celtic Celebration.
Tough Mountain Challenge
July 29. Sunday River, Newry. $99
The Tough Mountain Challenge is “an adventure obstacle race that tackles alpine terrain and throws in natural and man-made challenges to mix things up.” Because why not add an actual mountain to your obstacle race, right? Registration includes “a free beer you can have before your heat, after your heat, or even during your heat at our mid-course beer station.”
Date TBD. In front of The Brunswick Bar and Resort, Old Orchard Beach.
Lounging on the beach? Not on this day. Beach RAID utilizes deep sand, beach themed obstacles and a cycle of beach boot camp stations to challenge athletes of all fitness levels.
Trail to Ale 10K Race/Walk
September 17. Starts on the Eastern Prom, Portland. $35.
It’s fall tradition! The course starts on Portland’s Eastern Prom and loops around Back Cove. The run is scenic, you can run or walk it, and proceeds support Portland Trails. All good things. Also good: the finish-line beer, pizza, yoga, massages, healthy snacks, and DJ’d dance party.