Obstacle races have become hugely popular over the last decade, but who make the best ones? Here’s our pick of the best obstacle races in the US and their organizers.

Tough Mudder

Date & Location: Various

About: As the name suggests, Tough Mudder will test you physically and mentally but also get you very, very muddy. The full-length option is 10-12 miles long, but most also have a 5k option too, as in the Las Vegas and Los Angeles Tough Mudder. They are filled with obstacles that will, among other challenges, require you swim through ice water, rope swing over fire, and run through a field laced with shock wires (yes, you will get electrocuted!). Not for the faint of heart, this is definitely one of the most epic race series out there. As an added bonus, once you complete your first Tough Mudder event, you become a “legionnaire” and receive an orange headband. Then, each time you complete another event, you get a new colour of headband to show off to your mates and other competitors.

Spartan Race

Date & Location: Various

About: Born in the US, and spread across the country, the Spartan Race is a proving ground for competitors of all levels, with heats for beginners through to the elite. Depending on the challenge you are looking for you can participate in races ranging from 3miles to marathon length. The obstacles you’ll find are largely similar to Tough Mudder, but the Spartan Ultra, at over 30 miles with 60+ obstacles, is an unrivalled challenge which is open to all. Be warned though, not all who attempt these ultra races will finish.

5k Foam Fest

Date & Location: Various

About: Not the most challenging of obstacle races, but definitely one of the most fun. It’s great for families, office parties or joining in with your mates, with a big party feel surrounding the whole event. The 5k Foam Fests take place near the big cities and contains an average of 22 obstacles for you to clamber over and under. Mud lovers fear not, there’s a mud pit included with the 2.5 million cubic feet of foam that’s pumped out at every event. What’s most you’ll get to ride on the world largest inflatable waterslide!

The Inflatable Run

Date & Location: Various

About: This event is one for the whole family, not just the kids. The course is 1 mile long, requiring you to complete 3 laps to finish your 5k. It’s filled with various inflatable obstacles for you to bounce through with a 500-foot dash between each one. The fun doesn’t stop once you’ve completed the course, there’s live entertainment, music, food and drink to enjoy, so stick around for the festival vibes. Even if the kids are too small for the inflatables, there are plenty of attractions to keep them amused such a face painting and colouring stations.

Epic Series

Date & Location: Various

About: Think Strong Man meets Spartan Sprint - these events will test your strength and endurance to the limit, without the mud. Carry atlas stones, master the archery challenge, conquer the tyre drag, clamber over an inflatable course, even haul a truck with your arms and legs. Each event will challenge you to complete 12+ of these challenges, so it’s a test of fitness not just strength. This race will make you feel epic and you can keep that feeling going at the after-party too!

If you love obstacle races, then hopefully this list has inspired you to take the leap. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to run the distance without having to hop skip and jump over walls and crawl through muddy pits full of barbed wire then perhaps you should check out the 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon events throughout the US.