The obstacle race boom has made its way to the U.S., and with it, more events than you could ever enter. Needless to say, not all obstacle races are equal. There are now DIY events run by nobodies with land and some construction know-how, big-time pretenders out to make a buck. The real-deal events have it all: a challenging course, a fun after-party, and participants that make the just-right atmosphere. Here are seven of the best, plus how they stand out. Launch Gallery >>
Distance: 6-7 miles
Difficulty: A rare example of an extreme event that combines mountain biking, trail running, and obstacles, this race series demands cooperation. Everyone works in two-person teams, one person on the bike, the other running. Every mile – after tackling an obstacle – you must switch roles. The dual responsibilities mean cooperation is part of the mix in this race: Both teammates are required to cross the "Mud Pit" finish line together.
The Vibe: The convergence of bikers, runners, and obstacle-race enthusiasts is rare, even in extreme-racing circles. It's a party for all.
Cost: $60–$90; muddybuddy.com
Credit: Courtesy Columbia Muddy Buddy Ride & Run Series