2013-09-12 / News

Dozen islanders to compete on military-style obstacle course

By Margo Sullivan

The R.I. National Guard will partner with BoldrDash organizers for this weekend’s race. 
Courtesy/BoldrDashRace.com The R.I. National Guard will partner with BoldrDash organizers for this weekend’s race. Courtesy/BoldrDashRace.com The fourth running of the BoldrDash race is set for this weekend at Yawgoo Valley, and so far, 1,600 runners have signed up for the 5k military-style obstacle, including a dozen islanders.

Proceeds of the 2013 BoldrDash race benefit the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center in Kingston. The mission of the center is to promote an enhanced quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities. It helps autistic children as young as 2 years old.

“The great thing about this event,” said Lynn Hall, lead organizer of BoldrDash, “is that it caters to all levels.”

Hall says it isn’t Rhode Island’s biggest race as far as participation, but 1,600 runners is an impressive number, especially for an event that started only a few years ago.

As for the average age of the runners, it’s between 35 and 45, Hall said.

Jamestown’s Samra Pease is running in her fourth BoldrDash.

“The great thing about Samra is she’s 58 years old,” Hall said.

The youngest runners eligible to enter are 13, but there is also a special race for kids.

“We’re getting people out there in the work force,” she said, “people who are just getting back out into exercising.”

A few are going out and running a race for the first time ever. “It’s very gutsy,” Hall said.

At the opposite extreme, elite runners like Jamestown’s Andrea Brayman will finish the course in about 28 minutes, Hall predicted. The best runners will go off in the first heat early in the morning.

For the rest of the field, the average time is 45 minutes, but some people will need as much as two hours to finish the race.

There are also special events, such as a race for first responders to benefit the Special Olympics, and a unified race that will feature runners with developmental disabilities.

According to Hall, off-road races turned into a craze around 2010. As a personal trainer, she became involved while preparing some 50 runners for a Bay State road race. On the trip home, the group discussed starting an off-road race in Rhode Island.

The BoldrDash was the result, and the course is both fun and challenging.

Some of the obstacles on the Yawgoo course are man-made, she said, while others are natural. The runners will go up and down ski trails and through wooded paths. At one point, the course goes through a stream, she said, and that means the runners are literally walking through the water. At the end, expect a big 120-foot long slide, which lands up in a pile of water.

BoldrDash stands for “boldly overcoming limitations with determination.”

“That’s kind of what we’re all about,” said Hall.

Some of the athletes have attended boot camps at various state parks over the summer or worked at private gyms to train for the event. However, people who are not in top form can still participate as long as they can accept the likelihood that they may have to walk, not run, part of the course. Inexperienced runners may have to use the level alternatives at the various obstacles to their advantage.

“You accept the fact you may not do everything out there,” she said.

Her advice for anybody who wants to give it a shot next year was simple. Go to the gym and work on upper body strength. Also, plan to use the alternatives to get past the obstacles, she suggested.

For example, one hurdle is a 10-foot-high wall. The elite athletes can go over it, but people at an intermediate level might want to use the cleats built into the wall to ease their bodies over. That obstacle, however, also has a ladder as an alternative for people at the beginner level. If necessary, you just climb the rungs up and climb down the other side.

Everyone who finishes receives a medal, she said, and the race accommodates different motivations. Some runners want the accomplishment of finishing the race, while others want to take on the challenge of the obstacles.

The race has been held at Yawgoo twice before. Last year, the BoldrDash was held at Misquamicut State Beach to raise money for the Hurricane Sandy cleanup. The events start on Saturday, Sept 14, at 9 a.m. All BoldrDash competitors will receive a free beer – if they’re over 21 – and a T-shirt.

Although this course will go over some of the same Yawgoo landscape the race veterans have traveled before, it starts from a completely different side of the mountain. Hall said it will be different enough to “mess up” anybody who’s run the race in the past.

“Each year we try to tweak it a little,” she said. According to Hall, people may recognize some of the same locations, but they’ll experience getting there at a different time and a different way than before.

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