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1,300 Runners Take the Hard Charge Challenge

More than 1,000 athletes took part in the kind of race that is sweeping the nation.
CHILLICOTHE – More than 1,000 runners took the Hard Charge Challenge Saturday morning. The nationally renowned race presents participants with a series of obstacles and getting dirty is inevitable.

Officials describe this race as 4.2 miles of obstacles, mud and mayhem. The runners can’t seem to get enough.

Participant Rick Breitzman said, “It's a blast. It's only about a quarter mile between every obstacle so you run, the obstacle takes your mind off the running and just keep going.”

Participant Amy Aranda said, “I've been doing 5Ks and they're just kind of getting a little boring.”

Several heats took off, filled with runners of all ages. There was a fairly equal amount of men and women.

Hard Charge Commissioner Brent Wolf said, “Obstacle course racing is the fastest growing sport in the nation right now.”

Wolf and his team take this race to cities across the country. Wolf said athletes love the challenge. “So you can combine a little bit of strength into your workouts, whether your climbing our walls or no holds barred get that upper body strength or if you're doing some army crawls then some things you got that lower body strength.”

Racers said it’s the obstacles and the atmosphere that draws them and more, and more runners in.

Breitzman explained, “Hurdles, climbing through mud pits, through tunnels. You don’t get to do this at home.”

Aranda said, “It's like a bunch of adults acting like kids again. I mean, that's how I looked at it when I started to see the obstacles. I felt like I was going to a play ground.”

Hard Charge officials said the race was so successful; they are already signing runners up for next year’s event in Peoria. It’s scheduled for Sept. 27, 2014. Proceeds from the event support the Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
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