Signing up for a fitness challenge is one of the best ways to get an all-natural adrenaline fix. You can’t beat the sense of achievement you get when you cross that finish line.
But what if the thought of a marathon is your idea of hell on Earth?
Luckily there are plenty of alternative fitness challenges for endorphin-seekers who are looking for something a little bit different.
From mud baths to all-night running, urban city runs to London’s first ever stadium obstacle event, we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite quirky challenges that are happening this Autumn.
And now is the perfect time to start getting in shape.
When: Saturday 21st September
Where: Tooting Bec Track, London
The Self-Transcendence 24-Hour Track Race is an ultramarathon race that takes place every year, organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team.
A selection of 45 of the UK’s most experienced and promising ultra runners take on the physical and mental challenge of trying to stay on their feet for 24 hours, making as many loops of the 400m track as possible.
It’s the only permanent 24-hour track race in the UK – and this certainly isn’t an event for amateurs.
If you’re wondering, 648 laps equates to 161 miles.
When: Sunday 22nd September, Sunday 29th September and Sunday 6th October
Where: Manchester, Edinburgh and London
The 15 mile (24km) running events take place on open roads in Manchester, Edinburgh and London, which makes for an interesting race experience as you have to navigate pedestrians and road crossings along the way.
But don’t worry, each route is signposted and marshalled, and both pedestrians and motorised traffic will be made aware that runners will be coming through.
The Edinburgh and Manchester routes are loops starting and finishing in Holyrood Park and at the National Cycling Centre respectively, while the London event takes you through the heart of the city passing by the capital’s most iconic landmarks.
When: Sunday 13th October
Where: Ledbury, Herefordshire UK
Eastnor Castle is the home of the Land Rover test centre and more than 60 miles of trails wind through the deer park and woodland.
Runners will pass through some of the muddiest trails the estate has to offer – so don’t wear you’re favourite trainers.
With a combination of natural obstacles, man-made trenches and troughs, fallen trees and mud pits, you’re guaranteed a seriously muddy experience.
Between the mud baths, there are some nice hills to enjoy overlooking the castle grounds. There are a range of distances to choose from depending on how hard you want to push yourself – 10km, 6km, 3km or 1.5km.
Where: 24 locations across the UK including Cardiff, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin and Southampton.
About: Mo Running events help to raise awareness of men’s health issues and to raise vital funds for the Movember Foundation.
Mo Running races are perfect for runners of any ability – you can choose to run 5km or 10km.
There’s also a 1.5k Mini Mo run for children aged between 3 and 12 years. There’s really no excuse not to.
When: Saturday 23rd November
Where: Twickenham Stadium
Unlock your inner warrior and take part in the first obstacle event of its kind to be held at a major sports venue inside a sports stadium.
The Spartan Stadion is a 5km obstacle course race and it is the perfect distance for first-timers, or for those looking to race against the clock.
Competitors will weave their way through sloping walkways, navigate the winding corridors and scale the stadium stairs.
The famous Twickenham stadium will be packed with 20 unique and challenging CrossFit style obstacles including box jumps, stair climbs, low crawls and carries, as well as some of the more traditional Spartan obstacles.
The race course will be mud-free and the famous 30-burpee penalty for missing an obstacle, synonymous with traditional Spartan race events, has been reduced to just 15 as this is such a fast-paced course.
Scott Barker, 31 from Cambridgeshire is a Spartan regular – he can’t get enough of the courses and, weirdly, he seems to love burpees.
‘What I really love about spartan is the penalty system of burpees. It really makes for a great race,’ Scott tells Metro.co.uk.
‘You may be the fastest runner on the day, but if you miss the spear or fall off the monkey bars, doing all those burpees can make so much difference to the outcome!
‘I’ve lost or gained podiums on critical obstacles in the past. As an athlete I really like the strength side of Spartan, especially the bucket carry, there’s nothing like it.’
Jade Skillen is a 27-year-old personal trainer from Suffolk.
She used to play football for West Ham Ladies and Tottenham Ladies, and after leaving to start up her own fitness business, she was desperate to recreate the thrill of competition – which lead her to Spartan races.
‘My first ever Spartan race was five years and I just took part for fun,’ says Jade.
‘I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I still managed to come second that day. It was then that I realised I should definitely sign up for another one.
‘Obstacle course racing is a big up and coming sport and some of us have now been offered a “pro” contract with Spartan for this season, so it’s looking really exciting.
‘I am taking part in every UK race this year and I have signed up to three races abroad, including the World Championships in Lake Tahoe.’
So what are you waiting for? Set yourself a serious challenge for next season – the pay off will certainly be worth it.