Friday, April 13, 2012 | 8:11 p.m.
Looming walls. Barbed wire trenches. Log hurdles. Flaming obstacles. Ominous pits of cold, muddy water. And thousands of chiseled, slightly insane athletes chomping at the chance to tackle them all.
A new breed of race is gaining traction across the country, combining serious mileage with military-style obstacles for an intense competition experience that’s more about making it through than it is about scoring the best time. This year, a bunch of obstacle races are heading to Las Vegas and welcoming locals to put life (or at least limb) on the line. Want to crawl through mud, climb cargo nets and test your toughness? Check out these upcoming races and find the one that’s right for you.
Boot Camp Las Vegas RhinO-Course, April 28
Based on military obstacle courses, this local race by Boot Camp Las Vegas packs a 5-mile course with up to 100 challenges like wall climbs, tunnel mazes, rope swings and cargo nets. Racers can do a single timed lap or compete for the most laps in a psychotic nine-hour endurance test. When you finish the Boulder City course, a beer garden (with plenty of Michelob Ultra), barbecue and performance by Tommy Rocker await. Rhino-course.com, $65-$100, group discounts available.
Devil Dash, May 12
“We dare you to run like hell,” says the website for this demonic 5K race at Bootleg Canyon Park. Thirteen obstacles like “blood bath,” “hell’s rubble” (think tire maze) and the “burning ring of fire” (literally) will test runners as they make their way to the finish line and the Beer Garden of Eden. Of course, devilish costumes are encouraged. Devildash.com, $65-$75.
Tough Mudder, October 6-7
Think you’re tough? Test your endurance as the international race series designed by British Special Forces members brings its special blend of hellish obstacles and epic distance (and awesome costumes) to Vegas for a weekend this fall. Tough Mudder’s course is no sprint. Clocking in at over 10 miles, the race takes about three hours to complete as competitors battle obstacles like underwater tunnels, rock scrambles, 12-foot walls (especially fun when wet) and something called Just the Tip. The race emphasizes teamwork (and ice baths!), so round up some friends and see if you're tough enough. Toughmudder.com, $90-$150.
Warrior Dash, October 20
Got a little warrior in you? The popular race takes on Las Vegas for the first time this fall with a 3.31-mile course boasting 12 obstacles at Lake Las Vegas. Start practicing your military crawl now—you’ll need it to conquer this race, which includes a scrap yard dash complete with rusted out cars before racers hurdle fiery pits on their way to the finish. Go ahead and snack on a turkey leg in your free Viking helmet after you’re done. You’re a warrior now. warriordash.com, $60-$70.