Trails to blaze, hills to climb, obstacles to conquer and of course, lots of mud.
This is how Maria and John Maloney describe the Urban Jungle Obstacle and Fitness Challenge coming up on Aug. 13.
“The idea is that it’s challenging and fun,” said Maria. “Why would you go somewhere that isn’t challenging or fun – it’s that simple.”
On top of being a town councillor, John with his wife own Rideau Winery in Smiths Falls and are the organizers of the Urban Jungle.
Now in its second year, the Urban Jungle challenge is an obstacle course that leads runners through the streets and parks of Smiths Falls requiring them to defeat numerous barriers on the track before them – including cars, trains, walls, stairs, trails, hills and tons of mud. There is a 5 km and 10 km race.
“People feel so inspired after the challenge – like they can do anything,” said Maria.
“It starts at the arena, loops through town, through the train museum property and through Victoria Park,” John explained, adding that the course avoids main roads.
The Urban Jungle challenge promotes the scenic sights of Smiths Falls and encourages physical activity.
“Play is good for you, whether you a kid or an adult,” said John.
Youth ages 17 and younger run for free in the morning on a less-challenging course and adults run in the afternoon with all the obstacles intact. Running adults must register online. All funds raised by the challenge go to local parks, like Lower Reach Park, and local charities.
“It really showcases the town and it encourages people to be active and prepare for the challenge – even though you don’t have to,” Maria said. “But a lot of people do training programs before.”
The Maloney’s expect at least 450 racers at this year’s Urban Jungle challenge, with some coming from London, Ont., Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec.
“When you see these little kids, covered in mud, finish the race and grab their medal – they’re smiling. What more reward do you want?” said John, remembering last year’s race which had about 370 runners.
“We have a lot of really great sponsors again this year and we want to thank them. It’s these guys that make it happen,” said John. “We’re excited, people are really excited, it should be a good race.”
All participants receive a free t-shirt and medal. To find more details, see the list of sponsors or to register visit www.theurbanjungleocr.com.
This article was first published in the August issue of Hometown News. For more articles from our August issue, pick up a print copy at a local retailer or read our digital version.