Adam Spisak, founder of the Big Muddy Challenge, a new obstacle event for parents and kids, is planning ahead.
The Raleigh father of a 14-month-old girl, Spisak has always been active. He played soccer throughout his childhood and into college. As an adult, he's competed in marathons and long distance races. And he's a fan of mud runs and obstacle course races, which require participants to cross hurdles and complete other physical challenges.
Spisak, who also works for a software compay, wants to share his passion for an active life with his toddler when she gets older.
"I want to make sure I remain involved and engaged," he tells me.
But looking across the race market, he couldn't find the kind of event he envisioned for kids and parents to complete together. At traditional 5Ks, for instance, a parent can run right next to their child or cheer them on. He wanted something that they would need to do together in order to finish ... some kind of obstacle challenge. Big Muddy Challenge lets parents, kids compete together in obstacle race
Spisak starting talking to other friends, all dads themselves. And they began making plans. The group held a few trial events before deciding to go big, setting the date for the first Big Muddy Challenge at Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville on Sept. 7.
"We've had three smaller events and every time it got larger and larger and larger," Spisak said. "The word of mouth has been terrific."
The two-mile event for kids ages 6 to 12 and their adults includes 10 obstacles - some physical, others mental. Spisak hopes the mix of challenges will level the playing field. Participants won't need to be strong athletes to have fun and finish the course. And, in some cases, it will be up to the kids to lead the way, he said.
Some examples: Participants will run or crawl through lots of mud and mount giant hay bales. At one point, kids will have to lead their blindfolded adults through a maze.
It's also not about winning, Spisak tells me.
"What we care about is people going out at their own pace and spending time with family and friends," he said.
So far, at least 350 people have signed up for the race. At this rate, Spisak expects about 1,000 will turn out for the event in September. The folks at Hill Ridge Farms, the popular fall pumpkin patch destination, have helped the group put the course together. The farm will open up for its fall season the weekend after the race.
The event includes a Finisher's Festival. Spectators and families are encouraged to attend.
Kids must participate with an adult, but that doesn't have to be their parent. They are welcome to compete with a grandparent, friend, aunt, uncle or other adult. In fact, Spisak said that about half of the registered teams are not strictly parent/child combinations. Those include teams that have additional family members and friends. A legal guardian will have to sign for any minor on the event's waiver form.
And Spisak has big plans for the Big Muddy Challenge. He hopes to create an entire series with a couple of events here in the Triangle and more across the state.
If all goes as planned, by the time his toddler is old enough, they'll have plenty of events to choose from.
For more about this event, watch my video interview with Spisak. For much more information and to sign up, check out the Big Muddy Challenge's website and Facebook page. The cost for a parent/child team is $63 through Aug. 1. The price goes up to $72 on Aug. 2.
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