running events toronto

The 10 quirkiest running events in Toronto for 2015

If your typical 10K has grown a little stale then it's high time to switch things up and hit the road (or mountain) with a race that will not only challenge you physically, but maybe mentally as well. You can spice things up this year with a running event designed to bust boredom and still guarantee the euphoric runner's high.

Here are my picks for the quirkiest running events in and around Toronto this spring and summer.

Fork in the Road 5K - May 2
Navigate the sprawling hills of Uxbridge for this unconventional race of varying distances. Zigged when you should have zagged? That'll add a half a km to your distance. Choose the right way and you just secured the shorter route and all the added glory. For the terribly unlucky (or those with a not so keen sense of direction) you'll max out at 8km.

Mud Hero - May 22
What better way to mark the arrival of spring than by traipsing through mud at Ontario Place (or what's left of it)? Mud Hero will bring a 6km obstacle course to the city May 22 with plenty of ooze to go around. And don't worry, there's no barbed wire or electric shocks.

Colour Me Rad - May 30
You've likely heard of this one. Start the run in shorts and a white t-shirt, and end looking like you've been tye-died (which you have). This is an easy and fun 5K that'll send you home with tons of colourful photos of you and your crew. The run takes place at Downsview Park.

Rugged Maniac- May 30
If the handle maniac seems like a good fit, perhaps tackling the 25 obstacle 5K trek around Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort in Kitchener will do the trick. This 5k is studded with amped up obstacles like leaping over fire and climbing over shipping containers designed to leave you grimy, bruised and feeling like a stunt double in a James Bond flick.

Wanderlust Festival - June 27
This international event touches down on Olympic Island Park (Toronto Islands) combining what they're calling a mindful triathlon with yoga-centric activities. After you run 5K, you'll be led in a 90 min session of chatarungas and downward dogs, followed by an hour of meditative quiet reflection with 15 mins of (mandatory) silence to round things out.

Foam Fest - July 11
This wet n' wild 5K course features over 16 obstacles at Dagmar Resort in Uxbridge. Dash through mud pits, hit up the "Chamber of Foam" and trip through the "spider web forest". Nostalgia-inducing slip n slides will speed things up along the way, and shower stations at the end of the course will keep the ride home a smidge more comfortable.

Warrior Dash- July 18
Another burly team run designed to test your speed and stamina, the Warrior Dash features 3.1 miles of trenches, tunnels and ropes weaving around Horseshoe Valley's scenic hilly resort. Your inner viking will appreciate the horned helmet freebie, as well as the complimentary Shock Top at the finish. Funds raised go towards SickKids.

Tough Mudder- August 15 &16
Tough Mudder dubs itself a challenge, not a race, as you are compelled to stick with your teammates to navigate the hurdles and obstacles in this 10-12 mile course around the rollicking hills of Mount St. Louis Moonstone. Known to be one of the hardest runs of the season, Tough Mudder is a fave amongst military, police and superhero warrior types.

Sunset Shuffle - August 20
If getting up early on a weekend is killing your R&R time, then perhaps it's time to sweat it out midweek with the Sunset Shuffle, a 6K Island run organized by the Toronto Longboat Roadrunners. With registration capped off at 500, this tiny race features homey touches like the handwritten bibs and volunteers cheering you on and keeping time.

The Beer Run- September 27
Based out of Ottawa, and making its first ever pit stop in Toronto, the Beer Run is an 11.5Km run through downtown Toronto weaving through city streets and stopping (and sampling) at a few of our finest breweries along the way, including Steamwhistle, Mill Street, 3 Brewers and Amsterdam Brewhouse. The Beer Run will make 20 minute stops at each brewery.

What did I miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.

Writing by Libby Roach. Photo via Tough Mudder.

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