(credit: Fantastic Race)

(credit: Fantastic Race)

You might not have heard of runners like Emil Zátopek, Haile Gebrselassie or Tirunesh Dibaba, but if you fancy yourself as a steeplechaser, road racer, iron man or gladiator, we’ve put together a selection of the very best races — from fun runs and scavenger hunts to classic 10K road races. See the best of what greater Los Angeles has to offer running enthusiasts this summer.

(credit: Fantastic Race)

(credit: Fantastic Race)

Fantastic Race Los Angeles
1171 S. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(818) 942-3134
Every Saturday and Sunday

If you’re looking for a mix of running and walking coupled with some fiendishly tricky puzzles, then LA’s Fantastic Race may be just the ticket. Described by organizers LARF as “part scavenger hunt, part self-guided tour, part race and all fun,” this amped-up, interactive, team-based race is staged every Saturday and Sunday in both Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Billed as the world’s first competitive sight-seeing tour, the four- to six-hour races — including a hop-on, hop-off, bus-based scavenger hunt — offer participants a view of the City of Angels unlike any other.

(credit: Children's Cancer Research Fund)

(credit: Children’s Cancer Research Fund)

Kids 4 Kids Run/Walk 5k & 10k
Children’s Cancer Research Fund
1554 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 107
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 444-0100
April 28, 2013
Date: April 26th 2015

Organized by the non-profit Children’s Cancer Research Fund, the Kids 4 Kids 5K and 10K run kicks off in front of the Staples Center at 8.30 a.m. on April 26th. Established by Matti Contopulos, Kids 4 Kids is a family-oriented event, run over a very flat course, with a particular focus on providing a happier and healthier future for children in SoCal through a combination of clinical research and wellness programs. Race participants and supporters can help add to the $1.85 million already raised by the Kids 4 Kids race via sponsorship and direct donations.

(credit: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

(credit: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Race With A View
Pierpoint Landing
Shoreline Aquatic Park
200 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 427-7916
Date: April 26, 2015 at 7am

Join the race organizers for the 27th Annual 5K/10K walk or run along the sun-dappled oceanfront in Long Beach. Suitable for pro, semi-pro and novice runners, the event benefits the Jewish Family and Children Service, a social service agency providing no-fee counseling services to adults and children regardless of faith, color or creed in Long Beach and West Orange County. Participants can register for the race via the website.

Related: Best Running Clubs In Los Angeles

(credit: Santa Monica Classic)

(credit: Santa Monica Classic)

Santa Monica Classic
2600 Barnard Way
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(213) 542-3000
Date: September 13, 2015 at 8am

Staged by LA Marathon LLC — the same company who organizes the world famous Los Angeles Marathon — in partnership with Heal the Bay, both the 5K (7.30 a.m. start) and 10K (8 a.m. start) race will begin on Barnard Way and terminate at Santa Monica’s iconic 100-year-old Pier. The 10K Santa Monica Classic traverses both Main Street and Ocean Avenue before reaching the turnaround point at San Vicente and 11th. Although this race is geared towards the serious runner, if you’re looking for a race with stunning vistas across the Pacific Ocean, then this is the race for you. Water stations at miles one, three and five of the 10K course and mile one of the 5K course will ensure you stay hydrated.

(credit: Gladiator Rock'n Run

(credit: Gladiator Rock’n Run

Gladiator Rock ‘n Run
Irvine Lake
4621 Santiago Canyon Rd
Silverado, California, 92676
Date: July 25, 2015 at 8am

Devised by “American Gladiator” Dan “Nitro” Clark, Irvine’s Gladiator Rock ‘n Run will feature a taxing 5k course that’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Sporting 17 wacky obstacles — from an eight-foot-tall wall and a rancid mud pit to pitch-black, underground trenches and colossal cargo nets — the rock ‘n run has earned the dubious distinction of being dubbed one of the craziest races on the planet. Beginning at 8 a.m. and every 30 minutes thereafter, costumed contestants will set off in waves. Those who make it to the finish line can celebrate their survival at the bangin’ post-event party.

Related: Best Scenic Running Paths In Los Angeles

Julian Gothard is an internationally published freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. You can check out his popular RVing and travel column at Examiner.com.