As satisfying as they can be, sometimes basic 5Ks just aren’t enough to quell the competitive thirst of adventurous adults.
Now more than ever, grown ups across the Bay State are tapping into their childish sides and opting for Nickelodeon-esque obstacle races that pit them against mud, foam, Tarzan swings and tight ropes.
Thirty-four-year-old Alyssa Coleman has conquered at least 10 of them, including Rugged Maniac 5K, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Superhero Scramble, and has paid upwards of $170 a pop to participate in the messy races.
Though proceeds often go to charity, its not just the contestants’ good nature that draws them to the unique runs.
“It’s so much fun. It’s silly how much I spend on it, but it’s my outlet. I get to crawl through mud and climb on things, I haven’t done that since I was a kid,” said Coleman, a mother of two who lives in East Bridgewater. “It’s such an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you’re done.”
This Saturday, Coleman will head to Gillette Stadium to join 10,000 people at ROC Race 5K – short for Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge. The game show inspired obstacle run features the world’s largest moon bounce, a giant wrecking ball and the world’s biggest inflatable water slide.
“It is a one-of-a-kind experience, and so much more than just a run. It’s designed to bring out the kid in you,” said ROC Marketing Coordinator Jenna Long.
And if pulling your body across a set of adult-sized "gorilla bars" seems intimidating, just remember that these races are not specifically aimed at athletes.
“From couch potatoes to track stars, it’s a race for everyone,” said Long, adding that most contestants are between the ages of 18 and 40, with about 60 percent of participants being women.
Coleman admits that although she is in good shape, she's had friends of all athletic ability join her in the extreme challenges.
"We take our time and get through them," she said. "Even if they're scared to death, when it's all over, they feel great."
For women looking to get more than just their hands dirty, Mudderella is set to make its Boston-area debut on Sept. 6. The female-friendly fundraiser will bring thousands of women to Haverhill for a 7-mile long course featuring 15 obstacles designed to test stamina, willpower and strength.
Mudderellas will don face and body paint, as well as temporary tattoos to tackle the course, which includes a Hat Trick - a springboard jump onto a cargo net climb, ending with a slide into water - and Wheels in Motion - a test of agility requiring participants to pass over a series of swinging tires.
"Our team here at Mudderella is made up of strong confident women, who are always looking to challenge themselves both physically and mentally, and we wanted to create an event for like-minded women," said Antonia Clark, who heads up Mudderella's marketing. "When we looked at the event landscape for women, we saw an opportunity to create a true athletic challenge that empowered women to come together, push themselves, and have a great time."