Sunday morning came cool and damp with a slow drizzle keeping the ground wet and slippery in the woods at Mid-County Park. But that did not deter Superman, Batman, the Hulk and several other superheros and die-hard fitness enthusiasts from competing in the Superhero Obstacle Course Challenge.
The three mile race through the woods with obstacles was organized by Triadventure Multisport Training in Blacksburg. Anne Jones, the principle of Triadventure, LLC, was the Tennis Coach at Virginia Tech until 2000. She now trains endurance athletes and organizes and promotes races.
The three mile course was through the woods on some trails just wide enough for one competitor. Up and down hills, over bridges and through the mud; runners also had to contend with a course made more treacherous by the wet conditions. Add cargo nets, log carries, rope climbs, hurdles, balance beams, and other obstacles, and you have a three mile race to challenge even superheros.
And the fun part part was competitors were encouraged to dress up as their favorite superhero and run the course. Prizes for best costume were awarded as well as best times on the course.
Every competitor received a t-shirt and a participation medal after completing the course. “I expect some runners to finish the course in about thirty minutes but some will take an hour,” said Jones. The first heat launched down the steep hill at the start at 8:00AM.
Three heats were launched about fifteen minutes apart. Each heat saw runners head down the hill take a sharp left and disappear into the woods. What started as as large groups quickly turned into single file on the narrow trails with the quicker runners breaking away from the packs. The superheros negotiated the obstacles and emerged from the woods about thirty minutes later sweating, muddy, and some with bruises and scrapes.
Volunteers from the Virginia Tech and Christiansburg Rescue Squads were on the trail and at the start and finish line to take care of any injuries. There skills were not needed even with the rain slickened trails.
Volunteers were stationed throughout to keep runners from straying off the course. Getting lost was possibility as many different trails wind their way through the woods of the park.
The last obstacle was an imposing wall that required many runners to get some help climbing to the top and getting over. By that time some runners were exhausted, only to find the final stretch was a run up a steep slope on slippery wet grass. At the finish each runner was given a medal and cheers from the crowd and the runners who finished earlier. There was great camaraderie evident among the participants. The finish also included a cookout with soft drinks and water.
Comments among the runners were all positive and ranged from “I want to do it again” to “that was really rough”. James Mann of Christiansburg, dressed in a Star Trek uniform said it was his first obstacle course but he would definitely do it again.
The fastest time was achieved by Pierce Meikle with a time of 37:37.