Athletes of a variety of ages, and with varying levels of road racing and sports-playing experience under their belts, were put to the test in the 3rd Annual Mad Dash Adventure Race, on the Fairfield Hills campus on June 7. The event was put on by NYA Sports & Fitness Center and Newtown Parks & Recreation.
Kevin Hoyt, a seasoned runner and former Newtown High School standout, led the Advanced Course race field. He completed the challenging 4.3-mile obstacle course in a time of 33:46.
Participants crawled or slithered through long tubes, hurdled (or slowly climbed over) bales of hay, and maintained their footing on balance beams while members of Newtown Hook & Ladder tried to hose them off. They put their agility to the test by stutter-stepping through tires, pulled themselves over a wooden barrier, then used what was left in the tank to complete a fitness exercise before getting back to the “easy stuff” — running to next station. Their shoes soaked from the water, they swish-swashed to the mud crawl event, carried rock up a steep hill, then made their way to the suspended ladders where they showed strength and body control monkey-bar style. Then they ran through the rest of the course back to the first obstacle and did each event three times.
Hoyt said the tough course breaks up the monotony of running races. The most challenging aspect, he said, was climbing the barrier with wet hands the second time around.
“The course really drains you because it’s up and down hills,” said Grandon Smith, a cross country and track distance standout at Newtown High School. Smith has competed in a triathlon and similar obstacle course race and considers the Mad Dash to be as challenging as those events.
Sandy Hook’s Damon Kimble said he cut significant time off last year’s Mad Dash effort. Just completing the course is an accomplishment for people like Kimble — athletic but not a serious runner.
“I usually don’t run more than a mile and a half at a time,” Kimble said.
Volunteers helped to ensure competitors kept on course, passed out water, and helped those who needed it on the barrier climb.
“It was really fun,” Deb Bossio said. “Challenging, fun, inspiring.”
After the Advanced Course, the 1.7-mile, one-lap Beginner/Family race was held.
“This is awesome. The kids are having a great time,” said Rob Hatcher, who participated with his wife, Christy and their children Katherine and Sammie.
Check the June 13 print edition of The Bee for more results and photos from the Mad Dash. Visit nyasportsfitness.com for results.