Ryan Wiseman was the first across the finish line in what is one of the most grueling events for 5K runners, the annual SOMC Raven Rock Ash Dash obstacle course run. The final obstacles were a mudslide and coming back up through a plastic tunnel.
“It was muddy,” Wiseman said. “It was very well put together though. I’ve done some of these where you can get lost or some places it seems like you could get hurt a little bit, but I felt really safe out there. I felt like there was enough people and it was well marked.”
The brains behind the craziness is Brad Zieber, of SOMC.
“It’s a little over 3 miles and there’s obstacles,” Zieber said. “Everything from teeter totters, monkey bars, mud pits with water and barbed wire and another mud pit with logs in it that they have to go under and over. They’re running through the creek, running along the Ohio River, so a lot of obstacles along the way to challenge them in the run.”
The name Raven Rock Ash Dash has an important meaning.
“This is a 5K mud run to bring awareness to lung cancer and to stop smoking,” Zieber said. “Lung cancer is one of the leading cancers in the United States, so we want to bring awareness to this area about the harms of smoking.”
Zieber said all the proceeds from the race go the Community Health and Wellness Fund at SOMC.
“That fund provides smoking cessation classes to help people stop smoking and provide them with materials and the medicine that they need to achieve that,” Zieber said.
What kind of people do this?
“Anybody that’s out there for a thrill,” Zieber said. “Anybody that’s out there to challenge themselves. Some people come out just for something a little bit different. It’s a great opportunity just to go out and have fun, and not to worry about your time, just a goal to start and to finish.”
Ali Austin had never run such a course before and was trying to get warm around a campfire. She was quick to explain why she would want to participate in the course.
“Because we’re crazy, and we’re pushing ourselves, and preparing for a 5K,” Austin said. “and this is the only one we could find. This one has obstacles and we’re gonna die.”
Heather Walker was another newcomer.
“My friend and I started a Couch to 5K about 8 weeks ago, and it is for people who have never run before,” Walker said. “We just completed it and we wanted to challenge ourselves.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.