Apparently I really like mud. And aliens. What I really like are uniqueness, fun, and adventure. As I contemplated which races to include in this list, some stood out for the wackiness of the races themselves. Some stood out for how I ran them. I hope these memories will inspire you, make you laugh, and connect you to what ignites your sense of wonder and adventure.
10) Army Ten-Miler
2013, Washington, D.C.
This race wasn’t wacky in and of itself. However, it stands out to me as a milestone in my barefoot running journey.
While I’d only run about five miles barefoot to that point, I thought I’d see how far I could go in the race. I packed shoes in the back pockets of my biking jersey just in case, but I didn’t need them. I ran the whole ten miles barefoot, no blisters, no issues. What a thrill!
I was glad I was able to squeeze in the race, as it was my last day in the area. The following morning I drove away to my next Air Force assignment in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
9) Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon
2015, White Sands, New Mexico
This race wasn’t wacky either. Remembering the Bataan Death March and the Pacific theater in World War II, we were honored to shake the hands of WWII survivors at the finish line.
This was the one marathon I ran outside the timeframe of my seven continents journey, and it was my 10th and last marathon to date. I include it here because I ran it in Luna sandals. I thought running in the desert in sandals was hard core, but the real heroes were the ones who ran in uniform carrying rucksacks.
8) Alien Chase 10k
2007, Roswell, New Mexico
During one of my sister’s visits while I was stationed in Albuquerque, NM, we decided on a whim to head to Roswell for the festivities commemorating the 60th anniversary of the “Roswell incident.” How could we not sign up for a race called the “Alien Chase”?! Someone in alien attire would kick off the race and we would “chase” them through the course. Thinking we should probably show a little alien spirit, my sister and I found some antenna ball headbands to wear for the run. We thought we’d be the least dressed up ones there. As it turned out, aside from one guy who painted his whole head green, we were the only ones dressed up. As such, we attracted the attention of the local media, who asked if we were big into aliens, the Roswell incident, etc. Nope, just a couple of Star Trek fans enjoying the fun!
7) Big Sur Mud Run
2008, 2009, 2010, Monterey, California
Before Warrior Dashes and Spartan Races exploded in popularity in the running community, Big Sur was holding mud runs in Monterey, CA. Having rallied my friends to form a “Mudd Volleyball” team in Albuquerque each year I was there, when I moved to Monterey I was still all in for mud! The course was complete with obstacles and mud pits, and it was always a blast. In 2010 I placed second in the military female category. A rare “placement” for me!
6) Extraterrestrial Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon
2010, near Area 51, Nevada
The uniqueness of this race called to me as it was held on the Saturday night closest to the full moon in August. The race literally started at midnight in the light of the moon. Of course, it also appealed to my sense of fun to visit another “alien haven,” where aliens were painted on the sides of buildings and even the fast-food restaurants had “Aliens Welcome” on their signs. Running at night was tougher than I expected because my circadian rhythm was off, but it was still a memorable race. The shirts and race bibs cracked me up!
5) Ragnar Relay
2018, Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, D.C.
12 runners, 2 drivers, 200-ish miles, 36-ish hours. Ragnar is definitely a wacky concept! Relay teams are split into two vans with runners who take turns completing three legs each over the two days and one night of the non-stop race. A friend from my yoga studio started our team. I talked some other friends into joining us. My husband drove our van, and we started collecting our runners at 2:30am on race day.