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Mud, Sweat, And Cheers: Mad Dash Obstacles Push Athletes



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Competitors plodded through the mud, climbed up and over, and crawled through obstacles, and had a blast – of water from the firefighters on hand to knock them off of the wood log balance beams that is. This was all part of the challenge in the annual Newtown Parks and Recreation sponsored Mad Dash, at Fairfield Hills on June 29.

Running 4.3 miles around the in spots hilly terrain at the Hills might produce a 20-something minute finish for the fast runners, but when you add in several obstacles this Elite Course took the participants more than 40 minutes to get to the finish.

Daniel Butler, of Hartford and in town visiting his aunt and uncle, ran the 4.3-miler with his dad, Jeff Butler.

Daniel Butler was the first to complete the challenge, which was a three-lap effort, twice enduring the several obstacles along the way. Runners had to get through the tunnel crawl and show off their footwork in the tire obstacle, climb over bales of hay, venture across balance beams, and were forced to do pushups if knocked off by those firefighter hose blasts. They went over the police barriers, and piled fitness on top of fitness in the trainer challenge.

Participants crawled through the mud pit, carried heavy rocks up a steep hill, and ran (or walked) along the wooded path to the ladder excursion where they made their way, like children on a playground, monkey bar-style across ladders suspended by rope. The course concluded with the slip and slide and wall jump, followed by run to the finish.

It took a lot of mud, sweat, and cheers for the finishers who were greeted at the finish line by fellow competitors and family members.

“Awesome. It was really good out there. A lot of great competitors and a lot of great obstacles,” said Daniel Butler, who clocked in at 42:12.

In second place was Derek Bobowick. Jeff Butler also had a very impressive showing and was third, but not liking it.

“I’m not too happy about him beating me. I don’t know where the respect is for his parent,” Jeff Butler said light-heartedly of his son’s race win.

In fourth was Joshua Parsons, and in fifth was Jake Gonski. The sixth through tenth place finishers were Justin Zemo, Joey DeMasi, Neil Coppola, Brendan O’Rourke, and Thomas Schramm.

The top female in the Elite Course was April Colon.

“It feels awesome. It feels amazing,” said Colon, who first tried to downplay her gender triumph.

Colon said the hills were the toughest part, she especially liked the slip and slide, and had some mixed feelings about being hosed on the balance beam.

The firefighters took it easy on the 1.7-mile Open Course competitors but showed far less mercy when it came to the advanced course participants.

“That was hard. It was awesome but it was hard,” she said.

Many participants competed alongside family members. The husband and wife tandem of Nicole and Scott Karnas were among the fastest to complete the 4.3 mile course, and their son, Reid, competed in the Open Course.

The top finisher in the Open Course was Kyle Albrecht. Mack Foss was second, Jeffrey Prout came in third, Kyle Ruddy was fourth, Racheal Albrecht came in fifth, Sara Ruddy was sixth, Natalie McLean was seventh, Henry Prout eighth, Luke Albrecht ninth, and Audrey McLean tenth.

The event also had a Mini Dash, for the youngest athletes, who conquered a smaller but still challenging course that concluded with the mud pit.

James Burbank emerges from the mud pit during the Mad Dash at Fairfield Hills on June 29. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Daniel Butler ended up being the winner of the Mad Dash Elite Course. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

April Colon was the first female to finish the Elite Course. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

David and Celia Plaue get across the suspended ladders. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Amber Mason cools off during the slip and slide portion of the Mad Dash course. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

Athletes make their way across the balance beams as firefighters hose them off during the Mad Dash Open Course. (Bee Photo, Hutchison)

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