Obstacle Race List & Guide


Here at Nerve Rush, in a never-ending attempt to catalog all things adrenaline, we’ve put together an unofficial list of obstacle races from around the world. Obstacle races have exploded in popularity and serve as a fun alternative to the tried and true 5K road race. With race themes ranging from zombies and devils to firemen and vikings, obstacle courses can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 days to finish. Yes, you read that right. 4 days.

Last Updated: June 16th, 2014

List of Obstacle Races

Obstacle Race Name Location Distance Notes
Foam Fest US 5K obstacles include aqua lily pads and a Slip-N-Slide
Cerebrun US 5-7 miles world’s first “mental mud run” and obstacle course
Devil Dash US 5K racers start in purgatory and battle the seven deadly sins
Dirty Dash US 3-5.5 miles they have a kid’s version, the Piglet Plunge for $20
Diva Dash US 5K women-only; this obstacle race is sponsored by SHAPE
Down & Dirty Mud Run US 5K, 10K sponsored by Merrel & Subaru , this race also has a pull up contest
Gladiator Rock N’ Run US 5-10K brought to you by Dan Clark, American Gladiator’s “Nitro”
Hell Run US 3.15 miles nothing special here, just a standard obstacle race
Hero Rush US 3-5 miles fire-related obstacles
LoziLu Women’s Mud Run US 5K women-only; they’ve got a “couch to 5K” training plan
Mean Streets US 5K inspired by Hollywood’s best chase scenes
Men’s Health Urbanrun US 9.5-11 miles only in three cities right now
Mud Factor US 5K nothing special here, just a standard obstacle race
Mudathlon US 3 miles this race includes 40+ obstacles
MudMan X US 8-10K race course inspired by the four elements
Pretty Muddy Run US 5K women-only; they also have a guest blogging program
Race the Reaper US 6 miles not sure if running in 2013; only ran in Oklahoma & Oregon in 2012
Racing Humans US 5K sponsored by Scion
Ruckus US 2 mi, 4 mi look out for Mt. Ruckmore, 2.5 stories and 60,000 lbs of obstacle bliss
Rugged Maniac US 5K held a special obstacle race in Boston at Fenway Park
Run For Your Lives US 5K zombie themed race; become a zombie when you finish
Savage Race US 4-6 miles features some of the “biggest and most badass” obstacles in the industry
Spartan Race US 3+, 8+ miles sponsored by Reebok, one of the most well known races
Superhero Scramble US 4-26+ miles superhero themed race – check out the Super Villain course
Terrain Mud Run US 3 & 5+ miles only on the west coast right now
Original Mud Run US 5K, 10K since 1999!
Survival Race US 5K serving racers from age 9 to 99
Thunder Challenge US 5K, 10K lead and produced by combat veterans and Special Forces
Tough Mudder US 10-12 miles designed by British Special Forces
Warrior Dash US ~5K world’s largest running series
Iron Warrior Dash US 15-20 miles the bigger brother of the Warrior Dash
Swamp Dash & Bash Florida 5K hot, sweaty and swampy
Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest UK ~10K sponsored by Men’s Health magazine
Tough Guy UK 7-19K known for the “killing fields” portion of the course
Death Race (You May Die) Vermont 40 miles AKA the Spartan Death Race, this is a 24-hour obstacle race
Caveman Crawl Texas 5K family focused, 20 obstacle races
North Face Endurance Challenge US many distances from 5K up to 50 miles
Survival Mud Run US 5K nothing special here, just a standard obstacle race
GORUCK Challenge US NA 4-5 hour courses, all the way up to 4 days…INSANE
Rebel Race US 5K & 15K military-style obstacle race
The Color Run US & Australia 5K the “happiest 5k on the planet”
Mud Ninja Ohio 5K 25 obstacles and one insane mud party
Tough Mountain Challenge Maine 12 miles held at Sunday River ski resort
Reviver Challenge Rhode Island 2.5 miles proceeds donated to Mayan Families and Kids in the Canyon
Civilian Military Combine US 5-7 miles ultimate test of strength, endurance and agility
Muddy Buddy Series US 3-7 miles distance depends on course; obstacle race and biking
ROC Race California 5K “ridiculous obstacle challenge”
Wild Warrior West Virginia 5K inspired by National Guard training courses and designed by the WVU Army ROTC
USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run South Carolina 5K organized by U.S. Marines, all of this race’s money goes to charity
Zombie Evacuation UK 5K zombies are after you here; run fast
Apocalypse Run New Hampshire 5K, 10K, 15K one price, but racers get to choose one of three courses; launches 8/13
Alpha Warrior US 5K the best obstacles I’ve seen in any race; pipe bombs, chopper crawl, etc.
Monster Race UK 5K or 10K launching in November 2013 in Wiltshire, 10 min from the M4
Miles of Mud Texas 4 miles randomly hand out money before, during and after the race to participants and spectators
Prison Break Race Canada 5K you have been convicted of a crime you did not commit…run!
The Great Bull Run US NA bringing the Spanish tradition to the States…yes, with live bulls
The Bone Frog Challenge Massachusetts 9-12 miles created, owned and operated by US Navy Seals
Extreme Nation Michigan 2 miles designed by Hobie Call, this is the first spectator-friendly obstacle race
American Gladiator Series Wisconsin 5K inspired by the television show, with gladiators protecting obstacles along the course
Born Survivor UK 10K designed by Elite Royal Marine British Commandos and 1,000 feet of climbing, this obstacle course is tough
Zombie Blood Run CA 5K a non-stop course with lots, lots and LOTS of zombies
Man Games UT NA an inaugural day-long competition, committed to raising $1,000,000 for charity
Medieval Mud VA 5K+ period role-players for the Medieval and Renaissance periods throughout the course
BoldrDash RI 5K over 20 obstacles on a 5K course, designed to meet all fitness levels – elite to beginner
Critical Mud Lake Misery NC 5K+ everything starts with an idea – what were you thinking?!
Atlas Race US 1-7+ miles like the Rugged Maniac or Spartan Dash you never heard of, with better obstacles
Fort Wayne Zombie Mud Run IN 5K the first of its kind in northeast Indiana, with ZOMBIES
Wildcat Adventure Race Canada 10K 9 scenarios in one race where teams compete for their favorite charity; accessible to people with physical disabilities
Indian Mud Run Ohio 5K 30 obstacles, and race finishers get a free ride on the Blob!
Rogue Runner US 5-6 miles Rogue Runner is the only obstacle course designed exclusively for teams
Dirty Girl Mud Run CO 5K Don’t worry about it…everyone here runs like a girl!
The Burner OH 7 miles A portion of proceeds benefits Akron Children’s Hospital of the Mahoning Valley
The Suffering UK 5K, 10K Don’t be fooled by the beautiful location; Rockingham Castle’s Great Park deserves respect from all that cross it.
Parederos Chile 13K Chile’s first obstacle race. Muy awesome.
Hard Charge U.S. 4-5 miles televised obstacle race events, all over the U.S.
Surge Race TN 5K jam-packed family fun with challenging courses, live entertainment, food, games, and prizes
Xtreme Race Brasil 5K Brasil’s first obstacle race, with 9 different obstacles!
Mudness Chile 5K Chile’s first obstacle race course!
StrongmanRun Global 5K one of the largest obstacle races in the world
Superhero Obstacle Challenge Virginia 5K cargo nets, walls, mud, steep climbs, army crawl and more
Baddest Mud Run Florida 5K, 10K taking place in April and November of 2014
Bushido Challenge Virginia 6+ miles fully themed samurai inspired obstacle race. Live by the code!
Corn Fed Crucible Indiana 5 miles brought to you by the Corn Fed Spartans; looks like a great race
Mud Guts and Glory Ohio 5 miles Ohio’s world class extreme sports race, with on-site accommodations
Montessori Mudstacle North Carolina 5K an extreme fundraiser to benefit Montessori at Sandy Ford, a 501(c)(3) school
The Epic Series California 3 miles a crossbreed of strongman meets bootcamp, EPIC Series is the premier workout challenge.
Gem City Gauntlet Ohio 5K Ohio’s premier extreme run will feature 20 back-breaking obstacles
BADASS Dash U.S. 7K 25+ obstacles, 4 divisions and benefiting a good cause
Hit and Run 5K U.S. 5K an hilariously humongous obstacle course
Survive the Farm New York 5K 11 obstacles in upstate New York to test endurance, stamina, athletic prowess, and speed
The Siege Race U.S. 5 miles features training events a few weeks before the race
Armageddon Ambush U.S. 5K racers combat end-of-the-world obstacles and mud and color ambushes
Dirty and Proud Washington 3+ miles supporting families who face the obstacle of lifelong disability diagnosed in childhood
The Gladiator Games UK 5K or 10K pass through a series of gladiator-manned zones in this epic, new obstacle race

Have a race to add to the list? Let us know.

Alan Perlman

Chief Gut-Wrenching Officer at Nerve Rush
For three years, Alan traveled to 60+ countries as an international cost-of-living surveyor. Back in New York City, when he's not running, rock climbing or preparing for his next gut-wrenching adventure, Alan runs an inbound marketing agency, helping companies to generate more sales-ready leads from inbound marketing efforts.