Unusual Atlanta Races Guaranteed to Add Fun to Your Run in 2016
Staying healthy is not always a bucket of fun. In fact, sometimes it’s more like a bucket of suck. You might get bored with your routine. You might have days when you just don’t feel like putting in the work (but you’ll do it anyway because the results are worth it). The good news is, when you’re tired of running the same old boring neighborhood route, you can always sign up for one of Atlanta’s more interesting races to inject some fun into your run. Here are some 2016 events that will help you make some memories while you log some miles…
Run to the sounds of a 3.1 mile long drumline.
The MLKDay5K Drum Run
Celebrate MLK Day while you move your feet to the beat of a 3.1 mile long drumline of more than 250 drummers that runs along the entire race course. Is it a party or a race? Both!
Date: January 16
Location: Piedmont Park
Registration: Choose from a long list of approved options to decide for yourself which organization will receive $5 of your $25 (increases later to a max of $35 on race day) entry fee.
Good to know: The first 1,000 runners to pick up their packets get a pair of MLKDay5K gloves. This race is a Peachtree Road Race Qualifier. Parking, according to the race’s official website, “is going to suck.” Try to take public transit or BeltLine it over.
Run through Buckhead half-naked.
Cupid’s Undie Run
If running in the dead of winter wearing nothing but your underwear is your idea of a good time, this is the race for you. (Although, if December’s weather is any indication, the race might actually be held on a balmy 70 degree day.) There’s a two-hour party before the run starts at 2 p.m. and a bar afterward to warm your bones.
Date: February 13
Location: 3201 Cains Hill Place (Buckhead)
Registration: Registration is $40 to $55 depending on when you register, which may seems steep for the race length until you find out that it’s benefiting the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
Good to know: Nationwide, the 2015 Cupid’s Undie Run raised $3.5 million to combat a debilitating genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis in children.
Tackle hills, forests, mud, barbed wire, fire, and more than 20 Spartan obstacles.
Spartan Race Atlanta Sprint
Most Spartan races span 8 to 26 miles with as many as 60 obstacles but this comparatively fast 3 to 5 mile sprint course is, according to the website, “perfect for athletes of all levels” who want to show themselves what they’re capable of. Get out of your comfort zone and give it a try.
Date: March 5
Location: Centennial Olympic Parkway in Conyers
Registration: Prices vary depending on your gender, your level, when you purchase, and whether you’re participating Saturday or Sunday but generally run from $79 to $119. Spectators can also register for $20.
Good to know: The average finish time is two hours and the fastest is 40 minutes. Bring some fuel and hydration. The race is untimed and you can skip any obstacle you want — but if you do, you’ll need to do 30 burpees to move on. First responders and military personnel get 25 percent off.
Race against the Daylight Savings time change and end in a tropical paradise.
Chasing Moonlight/Racing Sunlight, the 5K in Paradise
Get yourself psyched up for the warm rays of the spring sun. Nightowls, lace up your running shoes for a 1 a.m. kickoff before the clocks shift an hour forward at 2 a.m. Finish in a tropical paradise complete with palm trees, fruity drinks, and beach music. Early risers can do the same thing at 8 a.m. The sleep averse can go for the Double Dare challenge and do both.
Date: March 13
Location: Town Center Mall, Kennesaw
Registration: Registration starts at $25 and goes up as the race approaches.
Good to know: Finishers will get a snazzy medal as well as some comfy pajama pants.
Add some color to your life at the self-proclaimed happiest 5K on the planet.
The Color Run: Tropicolor
Start the race wearing all white. End the race wearing a rainbow of tropical colors and “island scents.” Finish at Rainbow Beach, where a finish festival to rival all other finish parties awaits with DJs, dancing, mass color throws, and a party atmosphere.
Date: April 2
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Registration: Registration opens soon. Join the mailing list to be notified when it’s available.
Good to know: The Color Run is now the single largest event series in the world, hosting more than 300 events in 50+ countries last year, so expect them to bring a slick experience.
Step up the pace to reach the top of Atlanta’s fourth-tallest building (no, you can’t use the elevator).
Fight for Air Climb
How long would it take you to climb 1,200 stairs? Find out! Join firefighters, police, and first responders in climbing the 51 flights of stairs at 191 Peachtree Tower to support the American Lung Association. Stairmaster machines are boring.
Date: April 16
Location: 191 Peachtree Tower
Registration: You can compete as an individual or part of a team but will have to fundraise a minimum of $100 per person either way.
Good to know: Held in skyscrapers across the nation, this race has raised more than $40 million for the American Lung Association since it started more than a decade ago. Participants will be electronically timed and awards will be given for the fastest finishers. Don’t worry, the starts are staggered for safety in the stairwell.
Put on your thinking cap and sleuth your way to the finish line for a chance at a cash prize.
Atlanta Funk N Impossible Race
This Amazing Race-style scavenger hunt race will put both your brain and your body to work. Figure out all 10 to 15 clues correctly the first time, and the course will be about three miles long. Mess one up and you could be running for a while. You’ll have up to four hours to complete the mission. Complete mini missions along the way to improve your team’s final standing.
Date: April 30
Location: “Secret location” in zip code 30303 to be revealed to you via email the week of the event.
Registration: Registration costs $20 (but will increase in January).
Good to know: You’ll participate in teams of two to 10 people and will need your phone, paper, pen, and ability to not take yourself too seriously.
Throw on your Swatches and neon pants for a totally tubular 80s themed run.
Totally 80s Candler Park Fall Fest 5K
Costumes make everything more fun (well, almost everything… let’s forget about that time we tried to tried to make a deposit at the bank while dressed as The Hamburglar) and this race is no exception. Kick off two days of music, home tours, and fun with this popular 5K.
Date: October 1, 2016
Location: Candler Park
Registration: Registration is not yet open but keep your eye out because the dates for this year were recently announced.
Good to know: There are prizes for best costume, so start working on that Ghostbusters or Pac Man outfit now.
Enjoy the ultimate girls night out with tapas, bubbly, shopping, and music — oh, and a race.
Gildan Esprit de She Atlanta
Ladies, grab your best girlfriends and running shoes for the fourth annual Esprit de She. Start the night with a 5K or 10K run then bask in the glory of your success over champagne and food at the night market. If shopping’s not your thing, head to the beauty bar for a complimentary massage, mini manicure, or hair braiding.
Date: November 3
Location: Piedmont Park
Registration: The cost is $40 for the 5K or $50 for the 10K (it’s only $10 more for twice as much work… go for it). Prices go up August 25.
Good to know: Participants will receive a swag bag, shirt, medal with removable charm, two complimentary drinks, and free digital photo downloads.
You’ll need to dig deep to race to the bottom of Norcross Quarry.
Lace those shoes up tight because you’re heading down a 10 to 15 percent grade for three and a half miles. Hope you’re not afraid of heights.
Date: May 21
Location: Norcross Quarry
Registration: During early bird pricing, it’ll cost you $40 to run it once or $50 to run it twice (Double Crusher). Discounts are available for military personnel, students, and first responders.
Good to know: There will be awards for top finishers in several age categories. Bonus fun fact: The race is named after “crusher run,” a fine granite substance that comes from quarries and is used to create roads.
Other options to shake up your running routine: