Two “firsts” in one, today. The first first is, Stockton’s University of Pacific hosted their inaugural UOP 5K Urbanathalon; an easy stroll along the Calaveras River. The second first is that I ran my first competitive obstacle course race. Blessed with great race-day weather and cool temperatures, the UOP women’s cross country program put on a nice race, leading a small field of just over 100 racers through the easy obstacle course.
For an inaugural run, the good people of UOP put forth a good effort, and made it easy going for us. There was plenty of parking, easy registration, an uncrowded corral, on-time starting gun, plenty of porta-potties, high-energy volunteers and modest sponsor support.
The run started and ended on parking lot asphalt, but quickly transitioned to the open fields that run parallel to the canals of the Calaveras River, dividing the UOP campus. Wet from yesterday’s rain, much of the 3.17-mile course was slick and slippery, but who can complain? It was, after all, an “obstacle course.” The man-made obstacles of this family-friendly race were simple and sophomoric, but that was the point. A hay bale blocked the path in the first mile, and some orange tape of various heights split the bridge crossing at mile 2. Some energetic runners leaped over the tape, and others did some rather sloppy limbo. My strategy over the tape was to approach it slowly and swing one stiff leg at a time over it and move forward. In the home stretch, there were kiddie pools set up for people (mostly the children) to slog through.
The finish line was like any other well organized race: high-fives and hell-ya’s, chip-time indicators, kodak moments, water and food. Organizers handed out trophy’s for First Place overall and by age group. I finished just outside the trophy pool, finishing second in my age group.
Fun morning, all in all. I’ll be back next year.
Have you run obstacle course races? Do you like them?