Six fun fitness events

There's a surge in popularity for fitness events where the emphasis is on experience rather than finishing times.  

We’ve rounded up some of the most spectacular local fitness events so you can choose what suits you.

1. The Colour Run

Some people know it as ‘The Happiest 5km on the Planet’: it’s The Colour Run, a convivial fun run engineered to promote happiness just as much as being active, where individuality is the greatest prize of all. 

Held in several locations across Australia, this is one race where amateurs are actively encouraged. Along the course, runners are ‘bombed’ with coloured powder (made from 100% natural food-grade corn starch), picking up different hues as they get closer and closer to the finishing line.

2. Neon Run

The Neon Run is more of an energetic night club experience than an athletic competition. It’s a 5km night fun run through four distinct ‘neon zones’, featuring rock, pop, disco and house music, DJ competitions and dancers. Participants are encouraged to wear crazy costumes and glow sticks, and cover their faces with luminous paint. 

There are run, jog, walk, skate or cycle options and the money raised goes to charity.

3. Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder is a team endurance challenge over an 18-20km military-style obstacle course designed by former British Special Forces. The event is about testing all-round stamina, teamwork and mental grit – and tolerance to mud, lots and lots of mud. 

Tough Mudder organisers take pains to say it’s not a race but rather about teamwork and facing up to and overcoming the imaginative challenges of the course. Challenges have included ‘Fire in your hole’ (a steep slide through fire into a mud pit) and ‘Funky monkey’ (negotiating up-and-down monkey bars, greased with a butter/mud mixture, above a tank of icy water).

Athlete running through mud

4. Spartan Race

With courses of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty (from the 5km ‘Sprint’ to the 19km ‘Beast’ to the 24-hour ‘Death race’), the Spartan Race offers something for all fitness levels, even kids. 

Obstacles include the usual suspects – barbed wire, mud, slippery walls and fire, all to test your mettle and drag you out of your comfort zone. Mercifully, there’s no hand-to-hand combat although there may be spear throwing and hoisting of ‘Herculean’ weights.

5. Simpson Desert Bike Challenge

Those who fancy pushing themselves to the absolute limit would probably relish the Simpson Desert Bike Challenge. Spend a few days cycling some 600km through the outback. 

Rocks, sand, flies, searing heat and salt lakes are just some of the challenges you might face. On the plus side, you’ll have a support crew, you’ll be raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the race finishes right outside the Birdsville Pub.

6. Coast to Coast

This annual multi-sport competition involves running, cycling and kayaking your way 243km from one side of New Zealand’s South Island to the other. 

A reasonable fitness level is needed for the Coast to Coast but there are sections suitable for the average weekend warrior. The top athletes complete the race in 11 hours or so; the majority of competitors take two days with an overnight camp at the end of the mountain run section.

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