In the NYT, Chris (Born to Run) McDougall talks about being born to be a trail runner. Although "big money has invaded mountain biking, marathoning and the Ironman," he writes, "off in the woods, Fat Asses are flourishing." As he explains:
Fat Ass events are trail races governed by three rules: no fees, no awards, no whining. Distances are typically 50 kilometers or 50 miles, but vary according to a race director's whims or ability to borrow his buddy's GPS device. Fat Ass runs have no lotteries, no expos, no qualifying times, no triple-digit entry fees subsidizing multimillion-dollar "running clubs." [...] The appeal isn't strictly about cash; it's about connection. A Fat Ass is hometown and homemade. It's not Hollywood; it's your high school play.
Running races like these was what really rekindled my love for running over the past few years, and I can't recommend them highly enough. Check with your local running clubs to see what's happening in your neck of the woods!