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Apex to open 'ninja warrior' fitness park Saturday

Posted July 5
Updated July 6

Apex will open the new Elevate Fitness Course on Saturday, which the town says is the first of its kind in the country.

Inspired by the popular obstacle course fitness trend, the course features a variety of pieces where participants can jump, balance and climb.

It's designed with teens in mind - ages 13 and up - because of the size and difficulty of the devices. Younger kids may have fun here, but they might not be big enough to reach up or use the equipment as intended. But, Angela Reincke, Apex parks planner, said the town's parks and recreation department will be creating programs for all ages and abilities there, including, potentially seniors and those with special needs.

"It's a 'ninja warrior course,'" said Reincke, "but something most of us can do."

The course is at Apex Community Park, 2200 Laura Duncan Rd., Apex. A ribbon cutting is set for 9 a.m., Saturday. If you go, be ready to work out. It will be free to use the course.

Reincke said the course is less than a year in the making and is opening thanks to a collaboration with Wisconsin-based Burke Playground Equipment and Morrisville-based Barrs Recreation, a family-owned business that sells commercial playground equipment from Burke.

Apex's course is a national test site. There, Burke is developing fitness courses that will eventually be held at the course and, potentially, elsewhere around the country. In August, the company will share more details about the programs they are working to create and the benefits, Reincke said.

Reincke said the project was a natural fit for Apex where officials have been working to offer more programs and venues that appeal to teens - often a hard-to-reach population. The town opened a skateboard plaza in 2015. In fact, then President Barack Obama recognized Apex Police Captain Jacques Gilbert as a Champion for Change because of his work to open the skate plaza in downtown Apex.

Finding fun, safe and healthy activities for teens, said Reincke, has been a "huge focus." She hopes that teens will give it a shot.

"If they're not really engaged in a sport, you miss getting the teen population involved," Reincke said. "Our hope is it's not just a playground, but that it's kind of cool."

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