There is something special about visiting new places. But for the adventurous athletes out there, there’s something even grander about pushing your physical limitations and competing in a new place.
There are so many types of races across the country. Whether you’re a hiker or biker, or looking for something leisurely or more challenging, one of these five races is sure to suit just the adventure and vacation you’re looking for.
GoPro Mountain Games
Hosted in the beautiful mountains of Vail, Colorado, the GoPro Mountain Games bring a fun vacation and adventure travel into one. There is an activity for everyone, including your four-legged friends.
At the Mountain Games, both professional and amateur adventure athletes can compete in 11 different disciplines and more than 30 competitions that include kayaking, SUP, running, slackline, trail running, mountain and road cycling, climbing and even dock-diving for dogs. Then, the games are capped by the big contest for who is the toughest mountain warrior in a final Ultimate Mountain Challenge. UMC athletes compete all weekend long, racking up points based on how many events they can finish, difficulty level and how well they place. Money prizes are awarded to the top four males and females of the weekend. There is also a free concert series, yoga sessions, food vendors, art exhibitions and activities for kids.
The Mountain Games are a project of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, which has a mission to enhance the quality of life in the Vail Valley through arts, athletics and education.
The Molokai-2-Oahu race is not for the faint of heart. With a course that begins at the island of Molokai stretching all the way to Oahu across the Ka’iwi Channel, this 32-mile stand-up paddleboard race is considered one of the world’s most difficult paddle races. Already challenging enough as it is, the Ka’iwi Channel — translated as “the channel of bones” — has a reputation as some of the world’s most treacherous waters.
The race was first started in 1997 by one of Hawaii’s top paddlers, Dawson Jones, after he aspired to create a race across the Ka’iwi Channel. Today, the Ka’iwi Channel is host to not only the Molokai-2-Oahu Paddleboard World Championships, but also official races for outrigger canoe and surf skis. Each human-powered race across the Channel Of Bones is regarded worldwide as the crowning achievement of the sport.
This race will test your physical and mental strength, provide gorgeous scenery as well as celebrate traditions set by the rich Polynesian history and heritage of Hawaii.
Bay to Breakers
San Francisco, California
Known for the crazy and colorful costumes participants wear, the Bay to Breakers race is a reflection of the vibrancy and colorfulness of San Francisco. Originally known as Cross City Race, the event first began in 1912 and was intended to be a precursor to the world-class athletic events being planned for the 1915 Pan Pacific International Exposition. However, the event is also one of the many that were held to aid in rebuilding and lifting the morale of the city after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.
Participants begin the 12K course starting from in the city all the way to the finish line along the Pacific Coast’s Ocean Beach. The course takes runners through many iconic San Francisco neighborhoods, including Hayes Street Hill and Golden Gate Park. Participants also wear unique and crazy costumes and outfits. It is also all-encompassing, attracting serious runners, families, weekend runners and walkers.
The race now is one of the largest in the world, setting a Guinness world record with 110,000 participants in 1986.
Hood to Coast
Mt. Hood, Oregon
The Hood to Coast Relay first began in 1982 as a result of running friends looking to test themselves with a new challenge, and since then, has grown into the world’s largest relay race. Relay — meaning you’ll need to gather a group of friends before signing up for this adventure.
The relay is made up of teams with eight to 12 members and totals 199 miles from the start at the base of Mt. Hood all the way to the finish line at the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon.
The race is split into 36 legs, and each member of the team takes on at least three legs of the race, an average of three and a half to eight miles per stretch over 24 to 36 hours. You will have to run through the night, but the race’s party atmosphere makes it a little easier.
For all the non-runners out there, you can still participate. There is also Hood to Coast Walk, which operates the same way but with walking. Both events max out on team limits each year, so sign up quickly.
Glen, New Hampshire
The Tuckerman Inferno appeals to adventurers of all types. The race first began in 2000 and is the primary annual fundraiser for Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, a nonprofit that functions to preserve and protect the unique alpine and subalpine eastern slopes of Mount Washington, specifically focusing on Tuckerman Ravine, Huntington Ravine and the Gulf of Slides areas. It also pays homage to the original American Inferno ski races of the 1930s.
While classic American Infernos were top-to-bottom ski races only, the current Tuckerman Inferno is now a pentathlon that involves running, kayaking, biking, hiking and skiing or snowboarding — which makes it one of the most challenging adventure races in the country.
The race begins in Story Land in Glen with an 8.3-mile run that climbs about 600 feet. Next, competitors tackle a 5.5-mile kayak that drops about 200 vertical feet, following it with the 18.2-mile bike leg that climbs 2,000 vertical feet. After the bike leg is the 3-mile hike, climbing a total of 2,268 feet. Near the end of the hike in a transition zone. Participants then pick up their skis or snowboards to carry to the final leg of the race, a giant slalom ski course within the Tuckerman Ravine or general area. The exact location for the course varies depending on race snow conditions and safety requirements the day prior to the race. The race can be completed as an individual or as a team of five.