Outrunning the Summer Heat in Myrtle Beach

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It's hard enough to run a marathon or 5K in the spring and fall, when mild temperatures make for excellent conditions. But only the truly brave attempt to beat the Grand Strand in the summertime.

Few running events are scheduled in Myrtle Beach between June and September due to the humid conditions, and the ones that are held often feature a wrinkle to keep participants cool, like mud runs and night races. Here's a list of five running events held during the summer months:

* Warrior Mud Run: Be prepared to get down and dirty at this inaugural event in Pawleys Island, where competitors will run a roughly 5K course covered in mud and filled with obstacles, such as hay bales, tire flips and scaling walls. If you think running a 5K is tough on pavement, try doing it in the slop. Fortunately for the muddy runners, water cannons await them at the finish line.

* Independence Day 8K/5K: Celebrate the Fourth of July by exercising your right to exercise at this fifth annual event. The unusual 8K distance (nearly 5 miles) also features a 5K and 1-mile option. The course weaves through the streets around Market Common and Valor Park. The 7 a.m. start time helps runners beat the midday heat.

* Neon Vibe 5K Color Run: The most colorful event on the Grand Strand sees hundreds of glow-in-the-dark runners lighting up the night. Starting after dark on July 5, runners are blasted with neon paint throughout the course and cross the finish line looking like they were involved in an explosion at the Crayola factory. The course stretches from the Tanger Outlets on Highway 501 to Myrtle Beach Speedway, where the Afterglow Party takes place well into the evening.

* Fall Dirty Myrtle Mud Run: This spring event has grown so much in popularity that a second event was added to the schedule on Sept. 6. Runners trudge through the slop-covered 5K course while trying to traverse obstacles as a team, making this muddy event a great spectator sport. Kids can run the course at the end of the race, giving them a chance to do what they do best – get dirty.

* Wicked Hot Run 5K Walk/Run: Huntington Beach State Park on Murrells Inlet makes for the perfect venue for running or walking in this Sept. 8 event. The course curves through a course that highlights all the beauty the state park has to offer, from the beautiful beaches and Lowcountry swamplands to Atalaya Castle and the nature center. If you like to run in a natural environment, this is the place to race.

(posted 6/25/14)