Want to fight through a 5k for more than just a medal? These challenge courses are less about getting a good time and more about getting a mouthful of mud (and glory). From deep mud pits to 50’ water slides, obstacles vary from race to race but all promise epic exercise, fun after parties with adult beverages, and discounted entry fees for early sign ups. Check out our top five picks, so you can schedule soreness all summer long. 

May 2: Portland Survivor Mud Run

Held at Portland International Raceway, this one comes with a side of mystery—you won’t learn the obstacles until the start line, but the claim to be “the muddiest day of your life!” gives you a clue. Bands, food, and fun commence after the race, so bringing a change of clothes is advised. Register now, $69

June 20: Portland Rugged Maniac

Get rugged running through three miles of towers, tunnels, a 50-foot water slide—and don’t forget about the FIRE! Leaping over flaming logs is just one of the 25 obstacles that make up this “gauntlet of glory” held at Portland International Raceway. Register now, $79

July 25: The Dirty Dash

Sweat like a pig in this a swine-themed race in Albany. Wade through mud pits while grappling with obstacles like “hogs on a log,” “bacon bath,” and a gargantuan slip-n-slide! Bonus: Children can race the 5k with a parent, or play dirty on a one-mile “piglet plunge” for ages 2-12. Register now, $50 for 5k, $20 for mile youth race

August 1: The Epic Grind

Race around Henry Hagg Lake in Gaston on a (less-corporate) challenge course that takes you through forests, fields and formidable obstacles including “Paintball Alley,” “What the Hurdle?!,” and a massive rope climb. Bonus: 10k, 5k, and Kid’s Run options offer the right-sized challenge for everyone in the family. Register now, $75 10k, $65 5k, and $35 for youth race

September 12: Warrior Dash

Hit the hills on this mountainous course held at Hornings Hideout in North Plains. Conquer 13 challenges like trenches, barricades, and scale the “Great Warrior Wall,” but be ready for water obstacles—you might have to swim. Bonus: A free Viking “fuzzy warrior helmet” comes with registration, so go crazy. Register now, $60

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