People are motivated to run for various reasons: to get pumped up with the endorphins a good run produces, to be healthy and get into shape, or to have the perfect bikini body for the summer. For some of us, though, it’s hard to get off the couch. But what better motivation than the very thing that allows our bodies to even run in the first place? Yes, I’m talking about the fuel that our bodies need and our taste buds crave: FOOD.
Many races across the country have started incorporating food for those of us who aren’t motivated by winning a simple t-shirt or a participation medal. Swap those out with pizza and bottomless beer though? Now we’re talking.
Not only do these races provide runners with motivation (i.e. yummy food) to sign up and run, they are also a whole lot of fun! While there are tons of fantastic food-incorporated runs out there, these are the ones that you absolutely won’t want to miss:
1. The Ice Cream Race
Ice cream lovers of all ages, this sweet 5k in Centreville, Virginia is for you! Part obstacle course, part ice cream fantasy land, the Ice Cream Race includes ice cream themed obstacles throughout the course, such as a waffle cone cargo net, a chocolate syrup covered waterslide, and a banana peel pit. Also, you can count on getting chased by your favorite topping and pummeled with whipped cream fired from a cannon. At the end of the race you’ll be given ice cream (would it really be an ice cream race if you didn’t even get to eat ice cream?), and also be able to enjoy some great live music, food trucks, costume contests, and of course, ice cream eating competitions.
2. The Hershey Half Marathon
Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this chocolate-filled half marathon benefits the Children’s Miracle Network and takes you on a tour through the city, as you run through Hersheypark, Milton Hershey School, Hershey’s Chocolate World, and Chocolate Avenue (with its Hershey’s Kisses-shaped streetlights). Life-size Hershey’s chocolates including Reese’s and Kisses are present at the race to cheer on runners and hand out mini-candy bars along the way. I mean, what better fuel for a half marathon than candy bar? However, if you choose to pass up on the chocolates during the race, there will be plenty left for you at the finish line, along with a goodie bag, medal, t-shirt, and two tickets to Hersheypark in the Dark.
3. Craft Brew Races
Make sure that you hydrate with proper fluids before this race, because the delicious craft beers given out during the three hour post-race celebration aren’t exactly known for replenishing electrolytes. However, after running (or walking) this scenic 5k, the post-race Craft Brew Festival includes a costume contest, food trucks, live music, medals that double as bottle-openers, a branded souvenir pint class, and unlimited sampling of beers from over 20 local breweries. Keep in mind though, as our beloved rapper J-Kwon emphasizes, “teenage drinking is very bad,” so this is an event for those 21 and over (even if you “got a fake ID though”).
4. NYC Pizza Run
As New Yorkers often grab pizza “on the run,” it is only fitting that this two-mile race takes place in Manhattan. “New York’s Sauciest Run” is not only a race, but a challenge in which runners must eat a slice of pizza at three different checkpoints throughout the course. In addition to your three slices of pizza, you also receive a t-shirt, a pizza gift bag, and a free drink at the NYC Pizza Run afterparty. If pizza isn’t really your thing and you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss NYC Pizza Run’s sister race, the NYC Cupcake Run.
5. The Bacon Run
At The Bacon Run 5k in Atlanta, Georgia, runners can literally bring home the bacon (or eat it). Once the finish line has been crossed, the bacon consumption begins, with samples of 15 different bacon-filled dishes including pork rinds and bacon biscuits. The organizers of this race plan for runners to eat up to 14 slices of bacon each, so there is definitely no meat shortage. Bacon-themed costumes such as bacon bikinis and pig outfits are strongly encouraged, and the participant with the best costume wins a prize.
6. Corndog Classic 5k
Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Corn Dog Classic 5k brings classic state fair foods to the race, requiring runners to consume a caramel apple, lemonade, and a corn dog at each mile marker. The race takes runners through the fairgrounds of the Tulsa State Fair, as the run takes place before the fair is even opened up to the public. The post-race party has live music, raffle prizes, and of course all of your favorite fair foods. All proceeds from this race go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the United Way.
7. Krispy Kreme Challenge
The Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh, North Carolina “epitomizes the test of physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude,” as it involves runners devouring a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts (for a total of 2,400 calories) halfway through the 5-mile course. As if running 2.5 miles, scarfing down twelve donuts, and then running another 2.5 miles immediately after wasn’t hard enough, competitors must complete this race in under an hour. A race that started off as a dare among a few college students has now turned into a huge event that brings thousands of runners together each year and has cumulatively raised $954,000 for its charity, the North Carolina Children’s Hospital.
8. April Fool’s Day Twinkie Run
Although it takes place on April Fool’s Day, this Ann Arbor 5k run is no joke. If you plan on participating in this event, it is highly recommended that you love Twinkies. While it is not required that you actually consume the cream-filled cakes throughout the race, every Twinkie eaten shaves off a minute of your final time. At the end of the race, more upscale grilled Twinkies are provided to all participants, so the sugar rush never ends.
9. International Pancake Race
Although the day before Lent starts is commonly known as Mardi Gras, in Liberal, Kansas, this day is better known as International Pancake Day. This International Pancake Race is the only race of its kind, as the tradition dates back to more than 500 years ago when a woman in Olney, England wanted to use up all her cooking fats before Lent (as they were forbidden during Lent). She did this by making pancakes, and when the church bells rang she ran to the church with her skillet and pancake in hand.
This soon turned into a friendly competition between neighbors to see who could reach the church first with their pancake, and it eventually made its way to America when a Reverend in Liberal, Kansas challenged the women of the church in Olney to a pancake race. This competition between Liberal, Kansas and Olney, England is now a full-fledged four-day event, filled with pancake eating and flipping contests, a parade, a talent show, and races for all ages (in which all participants are required to wear an apron and scarf, carry a skillet, and flip a pancake before and after the race).
10. New York Hot Dog Challenge
Think you can guzzle down a hot dog from each of the 10 hot dog carts you encounter along this race’s 3 to 5 mile route? If it helps, you can choose your own toppings and whatever beverage you please to wash down the 10 franks. However, in this race, you cannot move on until you finish your hot dog (bun included), and vomiting will result in disqualification. The stakes are high, so this race is only meant for the truly dedicated foodie runners. The winner of this insane race receives a cash prize, the amount depending on how much money was donated to the prize pot, along with his/her 10 hot dogs along the way.
These food-filled runs give a whole new meaning to “dine and dash.” Whether you love to run, love to eat, or both, you are not going to want to miss out on these 11 insane races!