Adventurous types traveled from as far away as Minnesota to push themselves to the limit during Saturday’s Battlegrounds Mud Run at Cedar Lake.
Competitors traversed the five-mile course, testing their physical abilities and mental toughness through 30 military-style obstacles. The race drew nearly 400 participants, helping to raise funds to support troops through the USO.
Event director Tabitha Sheaver says the inaugural Battlegrounds run received encouraging feedback.
“It was an absolute success,” said Sheaver. “We heard nothing but positive comments.”
She says funds are still being calculated, but the silent auction alone raised $2,500 for the USO.
The course challenged competitors to run and crawl through muddy trenches, climb over walls and other obstacles and hurdle objects. They maneuvered through tires, jumped over fire pits and balanced on ropes.
For many participants, it was their first time doing those types of obstacles.
Jennifer Logan, of Marthasville, had heard about the event but didn’t decide to sign up until three days prior after her son Taylor offered to sponsor a team.
She scrambled to find three other team members and on Saturday joined forces with Vicki Smith, Michelle Miller and Dave Wilmsmeyer as a part of Taylor’s Beauties and the Beast.
An avid runner, Logan had never done a race of this magnitude.
“It was phenomenal,” said Logan. “It was everything I thought it would be and more.”
While some of the obstacles were more difficult than others, Logan says wasn’t a single task she couldn’t overcome.
“The challenges were fun so you looked forward to the next one,” said Logan, who added that most of the obstacles took more mental grit than physical strength.
Smith had toyed with signing up earlier as well and is grateful she made the decision to compete.
“I absolutely loved it,” said Smith. “If I could a race like that every weekend, I would.”
Despite being a fitness enthusiast, Smith says even she was a bit nervous before the race.
“I wasn’t sure I could (all the obstacles),” said Smith. “I don’t feel like I struggled.”
She was very pleased with the course layout, noting that the obstacles allowed you to take a breather from the running.
“I thought the obstacles were spread out almost perfect,” said Smith, who added that the climbing wall was one of her favorite challenges.
Some saw the race purely as an opportunity to have fun, while others were battling to accomplish personal or team goals. Dale Brannock of Valley Park established the course record, completing the race in 33:54.
Alex Baruth was the fastest female competitor, finishing in 43:50.
Locals weren’t the only ones partaking in the run, as Kim Schmitt drove out from St. Louis to see what the course had to offer. Schmitt says she works out routinely but had never competed in a race similar to Battlegrounds.
“It was great course, and the obstacles were a ton of fun,” said Schmitt. “They were challenging, but they were fun too.”