While running with scissors is often frowned upon, running with guns can actually be both fun, and very safe. Organized events where amateur runners become amateur sharpshooters and vice versa are becoming popular across the country.
As far back as 1861, the biathlon, then called the 'military patrol' was instituted in Norway to promote national defense at the local level. In the event skiers raced from station to station with a rifle slung over their back. Then, after a heart-pounding exertion, they took aim at small targets and fired. If they missed, time was added to their clock, so accuracy was the key to winning. By 1924, it appeared in the Olympics and has been a popular winter sport since then. Today the US Biathlon Association (USBA) counts more than 1,000 world-class members in 18 clubs across the country.
The Summer Biathlon
Ditching the skis of the Winter Olympic event and substituting a pair of running shoes, this sport has evolved since its origins here in the states (where else!). Starting in 1987 in Memphis, these events are sponsored by either local running clubs, or gun clubs, or both. Typical summer biathlon races are 5Ks although they can be shorter or longer. In it, racers run from target to target, then take their shots at 3.5-inch plates or traditional Olympic winter biathlon targets. Unlike the winter sport, most summer biathlon competitors do not carry their own gun, instead using club or loaned guns at each stage. While many of the winter biathlon members compete in summer matches for training, most accept novice shooters.
The Armed Dash
In Utah, a local gun-rights group is sponsoring a Run-4-Guns open carry 5K. During the run, racers will have holstered handguns carried openly in either the 3.1-mile race or a 300-yard armed dash. The proceeds from the event are going to charity.
Sponsors of the event related in a CT Post Article that, "We want gun owners and the right to bear arms to be seen in a true light and to be respected. And we also want to show our concern, and show that we, as citizens, we value giving back and making a difference in our community."
Run and Gun Matches
These are much less formal than summer biathlons with the same basic premise: you run, and shoot, then repeat steps one and two. A good example of these is the Thunderbird Run and Gun in Oklahoma http://www.okrunngun.com/ . For the cost of $45, you get to compete, as well as take a T-shirt home and a free dinner afterward. To get the trophy you need to be able to run two miles, carrying a rifle and handgun of your choice in which you will fire a total of 80rifle/45 pistol rounds at five stages during the race.
A similar competition in Kodiak, Alaska debuted this year that combines high caliber precision rifle with running. The inaugural Kodiak Precision Rifle Competition had 28 competitors sprinting twenty yards with their guns then take aim at targets that included chicken eggs and hostage/gunman targets at long range.
For years, Crosman has been helping to sponsor the annual Bikeathlon at the National Boy Scout Jamboree, where some 40,000 scouts assemble every year. In this sport scouts who sign up ride mountain bikes from station to station where they are handed an unloaded air rifle by a safety after they don their eyes and ears. Then the scout takes their best shot, hands an unloaded arm, back to the safety properly, and pedals off to the next station. In 2010, they added a cave-course where scouts use the Crosman Nightstalker and night vision goggles in a low light environment.
Its one of the most popular events at the Jamboree.
If any of this sound likes a blast to you, get with your local clubs, scouting groups, ranges etc. and put one on in your part of the world. We can all stand to lose a few pounds and if can do it by exercising your second amendment rights, then so much the better.