Best Obstacle Ideas for Fun Runs
Hosting a fun run is a fantastic way to make money for a school, church, club or charity and is also a great team building activity for your work colleagues or sporting groups. Fun runs have come along way since the old days of just running laps around the track. Here we have created a guide that discusses the most popular, exciting and fun obstacles that you could consider adding to your next fun run. Our list includes fun run obstacles you can make yourself, as well as color powder and slime obstacles, bubble obstacles, inflatable obstacles and more.
What is a fun run?
A fun run is a popular fundraising event where participants of all fitness levels donate or pay money to compete. It is a non competitive, friendly race involving either road running or cross country running. Participants are often encouraged to dress up in costumes, matching outfits or what ever they feel comfortable in and complete the race in their own time. Many fun runs are family friendly, encouraging adults and kids and sometimes even babies in prams, to join in on all of the fun. Fun runs are often themed events. Click here for our list of the top fun run themes.
Designing a fun course is important as the more people who attend your fun run, the more money you will make from ticket sales, donations, food and drink sales, food vendors, merchandise sales, raffle tickets, sponsorship agreements etc.
The Best Fun Run Obstacles
The best fun run obstacles are listed below. You can click the links to jump down the page.
- Slime Blaster Stations
- Cargo Net Crawl
- Slime or Mud Crawl Pool
- Foam Tunnels
- Car Tyre Obstacles
- Jello Pit Obstacle
- Rainbow Noodle Tent
- Color Powder
- Barricades and Tunnels
- Agility Ladders & Hula Hoops
- Inflatable Obstacles
Slime Blaster Stations
Our favorite fun run obstacle is setting up slime blaster stations around the track. A slime station is a section of the course where volunteers are waiting with water gun full of slime to spray at the runners as they pass by. The slime comes in 6 colors to ensure that all the runners end up covered in colorful goo by the end of the race. Kids love slime and will get a huge kick out of being slimed during the race. Click here for a detailed guide to setting up a slime fun run.
Cargo Net Crawl
Cargo nets crawls are popular obstacles for fun runs as they are very simply to set up. For a basic version simply peg down a large cargo net and make the particpants get down low and crawl underneath it.
Cargo nets can also be added over the top of pools full of water slime, mud or even jello.
Slime or Mud Crawl Pool
Fill a pool with Instant Slime or Instant Mud and then cover it with a cargo net, rope or flagging tape to make participants get down low and crawl through the sloppy mixture. If you don't want to fill the whole pool you can also have volunteers spray the slime or mud in using water blasters. Slime and/or mud will make the tarp extra slippery, making it a challenge to navigate across way under the net.
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Cover your participants in foamy bubbles and suds with a high output foam machine. These can be purchased online or hired from rental companies. Foam machines create huge amounts of bubbles that will stack up for participants to run through. It is best if you create a laneway with walls either side to keep the bubbles contained to an area and help prevent them from quickly blowing away. We made a successful DIY foam tunnel for a school fun run using some barrier mesh and camping poles.
Car Tire Obstacles
Used car tires offer a budget-friendly and straightforward method to introduce an additional challenge to your fun run course. You can line them up, or zig zag them in interesting patterns. The objective is to place the tires horizontally and encourage participants to step and leap through each one.
In the event that acquiring tires becomes difficult, hula hoops or pool rings can serve as a suitable alternative. It's important to note, however, that pool rings are less durable and likely to rupture over the course of the event.
Jello Pit Fun Run Obstacle
Ever wanted to dive head first into a pool of jello? Well here is your chance! A jello pit obstacle is a crowd favorite at fun runs and is often the challenge most talked about after the event. First you need a large inflatable pool, or you can make a pit using hay bails wrapped in a large tarp or plastic sheeting (as shown in the photos). Fill the pool with Party GOAT Easy set Jello. This unique product looks and feels like real jello but does not melt in the sun and sets by simply adding water (no refrigeration or boiling water required).
Rainbow Noodle Tent
This is a simple obstacle to set up that is great for color fun run and slime runs. All you need is a small marquee or pop up tent and a large number of colorful pool noodles. Simple hang the noodles down from the ceiling of the tent to create a rainbow of colors for the participants to run through.
Make sure your participants finish the race head to toe in color by having volunteers throw color powder at them as they run by. Color powder stations are great to set up after a slime station. Once the challengers have been sprayed wet with slime, hit them with the color powder for the complete color experience.
Barricades and Tunnels
If you are handy with wood then there are a lot of obstacles that can be made out of wood such as wooden barricades to jump over, balance beams to run across or A-Frames to scramble up and down. Solid tunnels and A-Frame structures can be set up as two obstacles, have participants jump over them in one direction, then loop the course around and have them crawl back through the middle.
Agility Ladders and Hula Hoops
You can make a bunch of obstacles using simple items that you may already own at your school or sports club. Agility stepping ladders and/or hula hoops can be laid out for participants to step their way through.
Best Inflatables for a Fun Run
Prior to opening the Party GOAT store we had one of the largest inflatable hire companies in Australia under the name Crazy Town Parties. We used to hire out a huge number of inflatable products that were perfect for fun runs. We no longer offer any of these hire items but we have a lot of knowledge that we didn't want to go to waste. Below we suggest some of the most fun obstacles as well as some of the most practical infltable obstacles for fun runs.
Why use inflatable for a fun run?
Inflatables are great for fun run events as they are temporary structures that take a relatively short amount of time to set up and pack up. They are large colorful obstacles that often grab a lot of attention from onlookers and they are a lot of fun for participants.
Having huge and challenging inflatables located around a fun run course, will help to break up the running component for the participants and give them a fun activity to do. These super fun attractions will encourage higher attendance levels as the activity isn't just running.
Start and Finish Arches
Having clearly marked out start and finish lines is imperative for a fun run, so it is important that these areas stand out to the participants. There is no better way to achieve this than by having two large inflatable arches; Start and Finish, that are set up at specific locations. These inflatable arches will ensure that the runners will know where to congregate to start the race and where they need to end up upon completing the race. Plus they are fantastic back drops for the participants to take photos in front of to ensure they have captured the perfect picture of themselves to post!
Obstacle Assault Courses
Obstacle assault course like this 20m inflatable will take your fun run from "zero to hero" with its bright colors, tall slide and it's ability to allow lots of people to run through the course at once. This inflatable obstacle course has 2 lanes, doubling the amount of traffic that can go through at one time and offers exciting challenges throughout, such as a fun climbing wall, tall slide and inflatable beams and poles to maneuver around. This awesome inflatable obstacle course will have your participants bouncing their way to the finish line and wanting more when the fun run race is over.
Big Balls Obstacle Course
The Big Balls assault obstacle course is the perfect challenge to make a fun run more exciting and is guaranteed to attract more competitors to your event. This inflatable, which was based on the TV gameshow Wipeout, is all about the participants successfully jumping through the course, bouncing on as many big balls as they can.
To increase your fundraising potential, post race you could offer participants to pay an additional small fee to compete against each other in a pillow war game in which they attempt to knock each other off the big inflatable balls, gladiator duel style. This type of inflatable is a crowd pleaser and is sure to be a hit at your fun run event.
Mega Slip and Slides
A wet Mega Slip and Slide inflatable would be perfect for summer fun run events! It offers the participants a fast track way to the finish line, by "sliding" instead of running for a short period of the course. This super fun inflatable can be set up as a flat slide or it can be placed on a hill to give the water slide some serious slope. Participants start on the ground at the end of the slide, they then run as fast as they can, building up momentum before diving onto the inflatable water slide surface and sliding all the way into the pool at the end. It is also wide enough to allow two people at the one time to race down. You can make your fun run even more fun by filling the pool at the end with either slime, jello or instant mud! Click here to learn how to make a slime slide.
Climbing Wall and Dry Slides
This climbing wall with tall slide inflatable is an ideal obstacle to set up along a fun run course as it is quick and fairly easy to complete. This would be the perfect first inflatable for the participants to conquer along their way as it is one that is not overly challenging and would set the tone for a fun, and exciting course.
15m Assualt Obstacle Course with Pools attached
These awesome 15m assault obstacle courses are big, bright and challenging, with an extra bonus at the end...a giant pool to splash into. Participants can race each other through the maze of obstructing objects, as these inflatables allow 2 people at a time to run through on each. Maximize the amount of participants enjoying these inflatables, by lining up 2, if not 3 inflatables next to each other, creating multiple lanes for epic races. Each inflatable has a pool attached at the end. For some extra craizness we highly recommend filling the pools with either Instant Slime, Instant Mud or Imitation Jello.
Slippery Balance Beam
This slippery inflatable will have everyone talking! Participants climb up the ramp and try to crawl across the slippery balance beam. Squirt guns are provided so that water and/or detergent can be sprayed onto the beam to make it extra slippery. You can even fill these guns with slime to really challenge the participants. This inflatable is a crowd favorite and an absolute must for your fun run event!
How to Manage Fun Run Traffic on Inflatable Obstacle Courses?
The more people that you have at your fun run event, the more money you will raise, however many people worry about how they will manage the fun run traffic on the inflatable obstacle courses. Here we provide a few helpful tips to keep your fun run participants moving smoothly and always in the right direction towards the finish line.
1. Location and set up of the course
Fun Run courses are typically 3 - 4 miles (5km) long. With this in mind, make sure you are setting up your fun run course in large open and preferably outdoor areas that are hazard free and have the space to have large amounts of people moving through. Locations such as sports fields, with access to wide paths and open clearing areas are all ideal locations for a fun run. Make sure you take an approximate measurement on how much space you actually have, as this measurement will give you an idea of how many inflatables would fit in the areas and how far apart they can be spread.
2. Extra lanes on obstacle courses
Where there is an option for extra lanes on the inflatables, take them! Extra lanes allows more people at the one time to move through the obstacle, which will decrease bottle necks at entry points and increase the flow of traffic. Plus it will add an element of friendly competition as many participants will love to race their friends or family members. To maximize the experience and to really keep the traffic flowing, line up the inflatables next to each other, to create multiple lanes for races!
3. Course direction clearly marked out with ropes and barriers to contain the traffic
This is an important one! Your fun run course must be clearly marked out to ensure that the runners are all moving in the right direction; from the start line to the finish line. Setting up colorful ropes and barriers around the course will all help to keep the flow of traffic moving in the right direction and the large crowds contained.
4. Locate marshals at each key area, including at least 2 marshals stationed at each inflatable
Stationing an adequate amount of marshals / volunteers at key access and entry points on the fun run course is extremely important to control the flow of people. It is a good idea to have additional marshalls/volunteers stationed around the middle of the course to ensure that the traffic is moving in the right direction and no dangerous or hazardous behavior is occurring (be careful as kids in particular like to do the challenges more than once by turning around at the end of an inflatable and then running back in the opposite direction towards the oncoming traffic).
5. Use a LOUD megaphone to communicate to the participants
Being able to communicate to large crowds effectively can be achieved through a megaphone, so make sure that you have one handy. You can use this to call out safety instructions, direct particular groups back onto the track, cheer on the runners or advise of any emergencies.
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