OTTUMWA — Clear, blue sky. About 55 degrees. Nearly 100 runners. A 5K course. Seven obstacles. Lots and lots of dirt, water and mud.
For a Survivor Challenge, it doesn't get much better than that.
The Ottumwa YMCA's first Survivor 5K Challenge Saturday at Victory Ranch was advertised as one wet, wild and messy adventure. Those who participated agreed as they crossed the finish line, put through the paces that only a specially made 5K course can.
The race began in two waves, each waiting their turn at the start gate — which was an actual farm gate since they were at Victory Ranch. The ranch helped sponsor the event, and volunteers spent more than three weeks there preparing the course for its grueling challenges.
And as the competitors finished their preparations, they were asked to thank the Wapello County Rural Fire Department for their help, too. They had been working hard to make the course as muddy and challenging as they could.
In response, the fire hose was turned on, dousing the runners as the race began. This surprise ushered them over the fields and through the woods to the seven obstacles.
Obstacle No. 1: "Are You Tired Yet?" was an 80-tire run that came right after an uphill climb.
Obstacle No. 2: "The Devil's Beard." The 30-foot cargo net had hay bales to low-crawl through.
Obstacle No. 3: "Bale Bonds." Runners had to surmount two enormous piles of hay bales.
Obstacles No. 4: "Goldilogs." In the very back corner of the ranch, a loop was set up next to a pile of cut logs. Runners could show their guts by carrying the log of their choice around the loop.
Obstacle No. 5: "Log Jammin." Fence posts were Lincoln-logged down a 5-foot-wide path, challenging runners to make it around, over and through.