Summer Guide: Full steam ahead

 These New England alterna-races involve more than running
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  June 5, 2013

 0607_races_color_top.jpg
SHE'S A RAINBOW A Color Run participant.

The growing popularity of alterna-races (like obstacle course challenges and mud runs) indicates that some of you need an extra push to lace up your sneakers. We get it. Running is just more fun when there are zombies involved! Here, we've rounded up some of the more unique running events happening around New England this summer. Prices are for individual participants.

XTREME URBAN 5K

This course boasts more than 20 urban obstacles, such as cargo nets, shopping carts, sand pits, and something called a "School Bus Evacuation." You remember practicing those in grade school, right?

Saturday, June 9 | Salem Willows Park, Salem, MA | $55-60 | xtremeurbanrun.com

RUCKUS BOSTON

Mud, monkey bars, and Tarzan-esque rope swings — this obstacle race has it all. At the end, take a moment to proudly observe the course and spectators from the 2.5-story "Mount Ruckmore" before sliding down to the finish line.

Saturday and Sunday, June 15-16 | Marshfield Fairgrounds, Marshfield, MA | $76-90 | runruckus.com

LONGEST DAY 5K

Celebrate the longest day of 2013 with an evening forest trail run starting at 7:15 pm. How bucolic.

Friday, June 21 | Libby Hill Forest, Gray, ME | $10 | libbyhill.org

WICKED MUD RUN

Co-founded by a former marine and sports tech guru, the Wicked Mud Run is another obstacle course, this one featuring — shocker — lots and lots of mud.

Saturday, June 22 | Bolton Fairgrounds, Lancaster, MA | $80 | wickedmudrun.com

URBAN RAID

Designed for "a new breed of cross-training athletes," the RAID's 5K course features monkey bars, a chain-link crawl, a sandbag carry, and cargo-net climb, all around downtown Portland.

Saturday, June 29 | Ocean Gateway Pier, Portland, ME | $65-75 | raidevents.com

THE COLOR RUN

The first-ever Color Run happened just last year, but it's brightened many a run. Participants in the untimed 5K wear white and are doused by an (all-natural) color concoction along the race route, resulting in a vibrant (and messy) after-party.

Saturday, July 7 | Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, ME | $40-50 | thecolorrun.com

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