April 25, Grand Junction, Colo.
This small race with a big heart is a great one for the whole family. Featuring a flat, looped, dirt course and vast views of the Bookcliffs and Mount Garfield, the affordable Fruitvale 5K is charged with extra meaning this year. Last April, race director Paul Hughes’ father died the day before the event. His runner friends stepped up and covered for their buddy, showing the true community spirit behind the low-key event. “Seeing the smiles on the kids and the families cheering each other on is priceless,” says Hughes, an elementary school physical education teacher. “I believe in teaching how to live a long and healthy lifestyle. Go running!”
Las Vegas Tough Mudder
April 26–27, Las Vegas
This obstacle run series is already known for its hard-hitting hurdles. In fact, only 70 percent of runners successfully complete Tough Mudder courses. Add the “brutal, arid environment” of the desert-set Lake Las Vegas course, and you’re in for a real challenge. Prepare for mud, fire and electric shocks, plus the notorious “arctic enema” ice plunge, which may actually help you beat the heat. You will run, you will crawl, you will climb walls through the fun of it all. Cold post-race beer and high-quality participant swag come standard.
Run for the Mountain 10K/5K
May 10, Flagstaff, Ariz.
The first in Flagstaff’s popular six-event Summer Run Series, this hilly, off-road race takes place at the beautiful Fort Tuthill County Park, just two miles south of town. Race director Neil Weintraub says up to 500 people come out for the popular unofficial kickoff to summer. “There is also a fabulous kids race, which has lots of the Mountain School kids participating,” he says. You can feel good about event proceeds, which benefit the school, plus there’s free root beer floats for all. Hello, summer!