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Best California races that will leave you breathless, dirty, and possibly fearing for your life

We've compiled a list of the best California races to put your endurance and strength to the test. Some are just plain fun and others will push you to (and maybe past) the breaking point. Which races are you up for?

Tough Mudder

Likely one of the better known mud runs, the Tough Mudder has everything you'll need to get dirty while challenging your endurance and team spirit. There are several California race locations including Patterson (Northern California) April 12-13, Tahoe August 16-17, and Temecula October 25-26. Be warned - the Tough Mudder isn't for the faint of heart! California Races Pinterest - from mensfitness.com

Down and Dirty Obstacle Race

The Southern California location for this race is Castaic, Ca (Northern Los Angeles) and is held on April 13, 2014.  This races offers you the choice of a 3 mile or 6 mile course with over 20 obstacles including rope climbing, a rock wall, balance beans, marine hurdles, mud pits, and so much more! Participate in this race and you are guaranteed to walk away dirty.

Kiss Me Dirty Mud Run

This one's for the ladies (or, apparently, guys dressed up like ladies?). The Kiss Me Dirty Mud Run on April 26, 2014 in San Jose combines mud, foam, and color. It's like participating in three races at once! Lucky ladies that sign up for this gem of a race will have one thing in common: attitude. If this is you, make this your next California race!

The Color Run

Break out that nice white T-shirt and take a before and after selfie, because this run will not only give you a great workout, but a whole new colorful look. The Color Run, with a variety of locations in California, is a fun and easy 5k. The Orange County run is coming up May 10, 2014 so make sure and register soon! Grab three other friends and knock $5 off your entry fee! California Races Pinterest - from Nancy Tu

Mud n' Blood Zombie Run

Not for the faint of heart, this Mud and Zombie Run combines the elements of fear and grime to get your heart beating and your legs pumping. If you've been training for the impending Zombie Apocalypse and want to prove something (whether that's to you or to the people dressed up like zombies who will be chasing you) sign up now! The next race is June 7, 2014 but mark your calendars for The Zombie Run (a similar race) next year in March. California Races Photo from The Zombie Run via livestrong.com

Gladiator Rockin' Run

Take a trip to Irvine on June 14, 2014 for this 5k with 17 obstacles, a whole lot of mud, and even a free beer at the end (for those over 21 of course!). This is a great event to form a team and create a costume for!

The Slime Run

SLIME! There is nothing better than running through green goo. Ok, maybe there are some things that are better, but this is definitely near the top of the list. The next event is in Sacramento on June 21, 2014 or wait until October 25, 2014 for the Southern California race held in Lake Elsinore.

5k Foam Fest

This race is packed with foamy fun for everyone! You'll be muddy and clean all at the same time with the various obstacles in place during this 5k. With two locations in California, you have no excuse to get out of this! July 19, 2014 in Temecula and August 9, 2014 in Oakland. Register now to save your spot! California Races Found on 5K Foam Fest

The Great American Hero Obstacle Run (5k/10k)

The race supports heroes locally and abroad and is meant to challenge any fitness level! It's located near the San Joaquin River on August 23, 2014 and is a great event for the whole family with a focus on celebrating those who serve in the military and as civil servants.

Spartan Race

Crawl through mud, under wires, and jump over fire (among other obstacles) in the this hard-core race held in various locations world wide. The California race is held in Temecula on September 14, 2014. Dominate this run and you may just win an entry into the Super Spartan! California Races Flickr - cogdogblog

MuckFest 5k Mud Run

If these earlier races weren't enough for you (or it's taken you until the fall to gain the courage to join) sign up for the MuckFest 5k held in Los Angeles September 27, 2014. This race is a fundraiser for the MS foundation and  100% of funds raised will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society! You shouldn't need any better motivation than that ;)

Have we convinced you to sign up for a race that will leave you muddy and exhausted? If so, let us know which one in the comments below!

Source: Mud Jumper Cover Photo: From Rich-Joseph Facun Photography

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