By Sally Smith
There will be sweat, maybe tears, lots of mud, and lots of full-on belly laughs. John Maloney, town councillor and organizer of the event promises it all at the first annual Smiths Falls Urban Jungle obstacle course race on Aug. 7.
Talk to him about it and he can’t keep a grin off his face. “Over 300 have already signed up. More will likely register closer to the date so we’re hoping for 400, maybe 500 runners. We might not have enough T-shirts or medals,” he laughed.
Everyone gets a medal, though, he reassures, and you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen those heavy, Olympic-size, six-ounce medals hanging from black grosgrain ribbon – a sign of a real accomplishment.
Registration for the obstacle race opens at 8 a.m. with registration at the Smiths Falls arena on Cornelia Street; opening ceremonies are slated for 10 a.m. Elite racers will run at 1 p.m. The Gordon Pipe Band will be on-hand to pipe everyone off, and if the first obstacle doesn’t have runners asking ‘what am I in for!’, the next couple will.
First off is a water-carrying, stair-running event; each participant gets a 10 to 16 litre bag of water and must run up and down 16 flights of steps as they snake their way through the arena. “At least it’s cool in there,” Maloney said, inferring it might not be cool elsewhere along the course.
Then it’s on to the skateboard park where runners will jump over curved walls, and roll, or carry, a 20-gallon barrel around the ball diamond.
Participants then head along train tracks to the Train Museum, run through a caboose and a box-car, down James Street, through a mud-hole to the beach. “That’s where the water comes in,” Maloney said.
Further on, at the water tower, there are cars to run across and a mud-crawl; then, off down Main Street, Beckwith Street, under the bridge to Lower Reach Park. At that junction, the five-kilometre runners go left and the nine-kilometre runners go right.
At the end of the run, covered in mud, sweat and bruises, the Smiths Falls Fire Department will greet racers with a hose-down. Rideau Search and Rescue will be on hand that day as well providing first aid, should it be needed.
Maloney can’t say enough about all the people who have put time, effort, energy and money into the day. Chris Saumure of Guy Saumure and Sons Construction Ltd. contributed four sea shipping containers (a.k.a sea cans) plus shelving for the course. Maloney delights in describing the rope climbing wall of the sea cans – “15.6 feet high, all done pulling yourself up on a rope.” Saumure has also set up the rings and poles obstacle ranging from 20 to 60 feet of hauling yourself across by hand rings or poles. “This is subject to change without notice,” Maloney said with a grin.
Scott Fleming of Home Hardware contributed materials; Chris and Keith Castle of Glenview Iron and Metal (GIM) contributed old cars, barrels and jersey barriers (cement highway barriers); Joe Cayen of Canadian Tire added material, paint and cash to the overall cost; Rob Campbell of Campbell’s Trucking and “Mr.” Tackaberry of Tackaberry Trucking are providing topsoil for the mud.
It’s not just these seven who have contributed. “There are 50 or 60 other sponsors and 65-plus volunteers. All the service clubs are volunteering, the youth centre, most councillors, the mayor (leading the kids’ race), as well as many individuals in the community.” He added that his wife, Maria, has been by his side throughout the organization of this event.
Jacquie Sandor, who had a double-lung transplant, is the opening official and Scott Reid, MP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston will be there for the ceremonies.
“This is a really good event. The community is buying-in,” Maloney said, adding, “The community did this – that’s what makes it cool.”
Any charitable organization is welcome to set up a table or booth to bring awareness to their own activities.
The event is a fundraiser for Lower Reach Park, and it is open to anyone. Under-12 participants will be on a closed course with parents alongside them. Parents are asked to use their own common sense when it comes to obstacles for their kids, and all participants will be asked to sign a waiver.
For more information or to register, go to www.theurbanjungleocr.com; you can register online. There are cash prizes and draws; if you’re registering a team, there will be prizes for the team with most spirit. To request information and details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613-430-4114.
Photo: John Maloney, organizer and head honcho behind Smiths Falls’ first Urban Jungle obstacle course race Aug.7, says runners winning these medals have really accomplished something.