Boston Marathon Too Square for You? Try These 8 Fun Runs

The Boston Marathon is coming up. Here are some stranger running events.
Fur Rondy/Clark James Mishler
Monday's Boston Marathon is certainly one of the more celebrated events for runners to show off their moxie. But if you're looking to travel for races that are more eclectic -- and at considerably less than marathon distances -- check out these crazy events around the country designed for athletes on two feet.

Will run for food

Forget medals, t-shirts and the sense of accomplishment that comes with many running events. These races reward with food -- none of which is healthy.

In St. Catharine's, Ontario,The Chocolate Race on May 11 includes stations for chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate martinis and chocolate milk as you cross the finish line. Rewards include truffles, chocolate-covered croissants and boxes of fudge. This decadent event's motto -- "If you're going to sweat...sweat sweetly."

Maneuver your way through an obstacle course of donuts at Balloon Fiesta Park inAlbuquerque, New Mexico at the Rebel Donut-Dash, an August 30 event that benefits New Mexico's largest food pantry. Special prizes are awarded for best costume and donut consumption on the 5K course.

If you're still craving donuts, join 8,000 of your closest friends in Raleigh, North Carolina next February for the Krispy Kreme Challenge. Run 2.5 miles, consume a dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts (a mere 2,400 calories) and then run back 2.5 miles to the Bell Tower on the NC State campus, all in less than an hour. The race benefits North Carolina's Children's Hospital. Barfing on the course is frowned upon.

Man vs. animal

Long winters in Alaska lead to some creative thinking -- like "why not let loose a herd of reindeer downtown and see what happens to people running in the streets?" A part of the 10-day long Fur Rondy Festival in Anchorage each February through March, the Running of the Reindeer requires costumes and cold weather gear to outrun the reindeer. In the spirit of Christmas, proceeds benefit Toys for Tots.

Keep those antlers on hand for Running Buck Wild at Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, Alabama. The 2,500-acre park is renowned for its wildlife, particularly white-tailed deer, and this 5K race is designed to get runners off the beaten path to see some areas that park visitors often miss. Proceeds help buy BBQ grills and picnic tables. Race organizers provide the antlers.

Think you can outrun a horse? Consume a few pints in a Welsh pub this June and then hit the trail to see if it can be done. The Man vs. Horse Marathon in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales is a great way to see the beautiful Welsh countryside. If you beat the horse -- and it has been done -- the 500£ cash prize (about $800) could offset some of your travel expenses to this beautiful land.

Now that's just weird

Non-runners often watch marathoners and think it's just a bit crazy to run for hours on end for no particular reason. But now these running events, these really are weird.

The Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska started as many great feats do -- as a bar bet between intoxicated friends. Basically, one said to the other, "I bet you can't run to the top of that mountain and back in less than an hour." That was in 1915 and now every July 4, nearly 40,000 journey to Seward to watch the madness. Get your race application in early –- thousands apply for the 400 available slots.

Cone heads, E.T. and other aliens run to the light of a full moon in the Nevada desert for the E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon. The race route follows E.T. Highway, also known as Nevada Route 375 the leads to, you guessed it, Area 51, that mysterious place where, according to UFO lore, the Pentagon has stored frozen extraterrestrials and alien spacecraft. The race benefits Big Cat Rescue efforts and starts at midnight August 9.

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