By Peter Koch
The Active Times

Why do people sign up for road races? Is it to test themselves in the heat of competition? Sometimes. To set a personal best and, perhaps, snag an age group medal? Less often. Or is it for the ill-fitting T-shirt (the necks are never big enough!), bottled water and free banana that come with the entry fee? Almost never.

More often than not, we think it's the fun and camaraderie of running a big race that bring people out. Doing the sport you're passionate about with a group of like-minded people allows you to feed off their energy and, in a solo sport like distance running, remind you that you're not alone out there. And there's plenty of energy to feed off of (and Twinkies, in one case) in these 13 fun runs, which are about as crazy fun as they get. We're talking about amazing events that mix a traditional foot race with elements of wild dance parties, belly-busting eating contests, over-the-top costume parades, bar crawls and the zombie apocalypse.

And who doesn't want an excuse to party? At these runs, you can forget about your finishing time, and just worry about finishing (you know, when you get around to it). And there's something for every type of runner, from the wino with a running problem to elite athletes who like their races with a heaping side of eccentricity. Try knocking back a glass of wine (or 20) during a picture-perfect marathon, mushing a shopping cart through an urban bar crawl, joining an electro-dance party or stripping down to your skivvies for charity. Lace up your shoes, and join us for the run of a lifetime!

For the complete slideshow of the Crazy Fun Runs That Are Really An Excuse to Party, go to

More Stories from The Active Times:
-- The 25 Best Running Shoes of 2013
-- The Workout Gear Everyone Should Own
-- Improve Your Overall Strength for Better Running
-- 12 Amazing Races to Run Before You Die

Story continues below