Unique Running Events

If running in circles is boring, here’s a few unique running events I’d love to see at a real meet.

In high school, we had a track meet that featured a relay event where the shot putters ran a 400 and the anchor runner had to eat a banana after crossing the finish line. Very exciting and loaded with potassium. Another high school had a track meet with unique running events, like mixed relays, relays with different lengths and even a mascot race.

Runners on a track

I love stuff like that. It’s different, exciting and can bring together runners from different events. Here’s my ideas for a few unique running events.

The Thunderstruck Run

ACDC’s song “Thunderstruck” is 4:53 long, and features driving drums, urgent guitar and howling vocals that make me want to hit my VO2 max whenever it comes on my running playlist. In this event, runners see how far they can get on a track before the song ends. The runner who ran the longest distance is the winner, and has been (drum breakdown) Thunderstruck.

The Basketball Mile

Each runner has a basketball and must maintain a dribble over the course of a 400 meter race on a track. The runner cannot go outside his or her lane and cannot interfere with other runners. If a runner looses their dribble or travels, they are disqualified. First runner to cross the finish line wins.

The Wolfpack Challenge

A team of four runners must run in a row with a leader setting the pace. At random intervals during this 5K race on a track, a whistle will blow and the runner at the back of the pack will run to the front and lead. Runners in the pack cannot fall more than three feet behind each other, or the team is disqualified. The team who finishes first at the end, wins.

The Egg Scramble Event

In this relay event, each runner on a four person team must run a mile. But instead of a baton, the team is given a raw, uncooked egg. The team must not break the egg, or they are disqualified. First team to finish with a whole egg wins, and can victoriously spike said egg onto the infield.

Speed Golf

It’s golf, but fast. Instead of the lowest score winning the event, the fastest time through 18 holes wins. Each golfer must hit the ball into all 18 holes, but can take as many strokes as they want without penalty. If you lose a ball, you have to start over at the tee box. The golfer with the fastest time wins through all 18 holes wins. No carts allowed. WARNING: the golf elite will not like this abomination of their game, so be prepared!

Operation: Operation

This is an 400 meter run and will probably reduce America’s supply of Operation games. At the 100, 200, 300 and 400 meter mark, each runner is required to pull one bone out of the operation game in order to advance to the next checkpoint. If a runner gets the buzzer, they must go backwards to a previous checkpoint and pull out a piece, then continue back to where they started. A runner can keep hitting the buzzer and must keep going backwards until they finally pull out a bone. The runner who completes a net positive 400 meters, wins.

Simon Says Run Faster

The classic game of Simon Says is played during a mile run. Mess up Simon’s commands and you are disqualified. The first runner to cross the finish line is the winner.

The Hot Mic Karaoke Run

In this track relay event, each team gets a microphone connected to the PA system and must sing a song playing on the PA system while running. If the runner does not sing or drops the mic, they are disqualified. Song choices could include Bohemian Rhapsody, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Don’t Stop Believin’ and Call Me Maybe.

This wraps up my formal request to the IOC to spice up the Olympics a little bit with some off-the-wall vents. I look forward to their feedback. In the meantime, I’m going to respectfully hit up my local track and become elite at at least one of these events.

Have any events you’d like to see? Holler at me in the comments.

Track Etiquette 101

How to run on a track without making everyone mad

Forget that Zoom cooking class on Airbnb, as a society we need a good track etiquette lesson. I love running on the track. It gets my adrenaline going, as memories of close finishes and nervous anticipation from high school track meets come flooding back. But nothing subdues that energy like a me monster who has no regard for their surroundings.

A high school track in Madison Heights, Michigan

There are rules, even if they are not officially posted on a rusty sign outside. The key to proper track etiquette boils down to one concept: respect. Applying a basic amount of respect will go a long way to ensuring everyone has a good time.

The track etiquette rules

What is “respect” exactly? Well, let’s find out what it means to me.

Run Counter-clockwise

Running the opposite way like a lost deer will only get you into trouble. A track is meant to be run counter-clockwise, but there’s sometimes that one person who wants to watch the world burn. Running against the flow of everyone is disruptive, and puts your hot breath directly in the face of someone else’s hot breath. No one wants that in 2020. Run the normal direction; no one is above track etiquette.

Don’t walk or jog on the inside lanes

It may be tempting to gravitate towards the inside lane, as it is the shortest distance, but remember to be mindful of faster runners. Giving faster runners the inside lane is common courtesy. You can’t call “dibs” or “lane save” on a track, so be kind and scoot to the middle lanes.

On the flipside, if someone is hogging the inside lane and you’re flying like Balto on his way to Nome, it might be tempting to make a reckless pass on the inside like Jeff Gordon at Talladega, but swinging wide and passing on the outside with plenty of room is the right thing to do. (Feel free to give a few over-the-top “did you see me” looks back to drop a hint).

Leave the bike at home

While it would be fun to dust off the old Schwinn and treat your local track like a personal Olympic velodrome, but it’s just a bad idea. First, the track is for runners and walkers, not Lance Armstrong wannabes. Bikes also bring a lot of wear and tear on the rubber surface of a track, which will cost you tax dollars in the long run, and cost me another twisted ankle. And finally, no one wants to run behind your spandexed rear end.

Signs at a high school track that prohibit bicycles, roller blades and pets

A track isn’t a concert venue

Bringing your Beats Pill to the track and blasting Buckcherry at max volume can sound like a good idea to some, but keep that to yourself. We’re all out here trying to get some work in; not everyone wants to hear your Linkin Park-centric Spotify playlist. Do everyone a favor and get some headphones. Same goes for phone calls. Yes, calling your entire family to air out drama from Christmas last year is a great way to pass the time while walking a few laps on the track, but not everyone wants to hear about Aunt Sally’s new haircut.

No cones on the track

Don’t be the person setting up a full-on NFL Draft combine in lane three, as most of us aren’t trying to win the local flag football rec league. Keep the mini cones, rope ladder, box jump and monster truck tires off the track. Mel Kiper Jr. ain’t showing up to watch you prepare for the Come Play Detroit co-ed league this season, buddy.

No Country for Old Dogs

I realize the risk of criticizing doggos on Al Gore’s internet, but people, leave your mutts at home! Can’t have them pooping and barking all over the place. Not everyone is super comfortable with a random, unleashed dog marking his territory (my water bottle) like he owns the place.


A track is a shared, public space where people of all skill levels and motivations can come together and get their sweat on for free. Showing some basic self-awareness and respect is the key to practicing good track etiquette. Happy running!

Have some track tips? Complaints? Ideas? Drop a note in the comments!