Athletes of a variety of ages and abilities put their fitness and endurance levels (not to mention their skill of slopping around in the mud) to the test on June 8. The second annual Mad Dash adventure race was held on the grounds of Fairfield Hills. Hosted by the Newtown Youth Academy and Newtown Parks & Recreation, and sponsored by Danbury Orthopedics, the Mad Dash drew 127 advanced (4.3-mile) course participants and another 286 beginner/family (1.7-mile) course competitors.
Newtown’s Kevin Hoyt, 22, won the advanced course, completing it in an impressive time of 37:40. Runner-up was Danbury’s Bernard Drollette, 37 (not far behind in a time of 42:40). The third-place overall finisher, and top female, was Newtown’s Nicole Karnas, 39 (just missing second by coming across the finish line in 42:43).
The advanced race began with an uninterrupted lap around the grounds, followed by two laps in which competitors had to run, jump, and climb their way through, over, and under a variety of obstacles, some of which left participants bruised and a bit banged up but feeling good about themselves.
Firefighters attempted to knock participants off a balance beam using a high-pressure hose, runners competed in a fitness challenge that included a footwork drill through a series of tires, a barrier climb, bear crawl, flat-footed leaps, and pushups. Competitors had to race up a hill while carrying a rock, make their way across a ladder suspended by tree branches, crawl or squirm through oversized tubes, and hurdle over bales of hay. The favorite part of the event for most was the mud crawl. Low-hanging ropes above the mud pit forced everybody to get messy, not that they wouldn’t have anyway.
“I like the mud crawl — just getting down and dirty,” said Newtown’s Rick Ruot, who is soon to enter into the army’s early commissioning program. He got a jump on his training by wearing a 40-pound vest for the race.
“I just dive right in. You’re going to get muddy, so might as well get muddier,” said Hoyt, adding that the course, while somewhat tougher because of the doubling up of obstacles, was easier in some ways due to the familiarity factor.
Newtown’s Joe DeVellis, decked out in a Superman T-shirt, ran the advanced course with his mom, Christine. “She put me up to it,” he said. “To have somebody to go through it with was nice. We had a good time.” DeVellis encouraged participants and offered up high-fives throughout the morning.
Newtown’s Andrew Mangold, 21, placed fourth in a time of 45:21. Newtown’s Ian McEvoy, 19 (46:29), finished in fifth, and Newtown’s Kasey Sullivan, 24 (46:30) was sixth. Other runners from Newtown/Sandy Hook who finished among the top 20 were: 8. Erin Nemeth, 22 (47:13); 10. Logan Walsh, 16 (47:26); 11 Luke Albrecht, 34, (47:56); 12. Bruce Goulart, 63 (48:10); 13. Connor Quinn, 18 (48:12); 14. Evan Eggleston, 13 (48:13); 15. Alison Cordova, 35 (49:11); 16. Cary DeYoung, 15 (49:30); 18. Karla Collesian, 33 (49:55); and 20. Grant Moxham, 13 (50:14).
Sandy Hook’s Matthew Dubois, 12, won the beginner/family run, completing the obstacle course in 16:35, just one second ahead of fellow Sandy Hook resident Simon Preson, also 12. Sandy Hook’s Mark Hall, 13, was hot on their heels and came across in a time of 16:41.
John Jasinski was among the many to participate in the family run, and did so with 18 friends and family members. “We had a big group and it was awesome,” he said.
“And there was mud so it was good,” added one of the group members, Madeline Hossler.
Dubois was one of those team members, and agreed that the mud crawl was by far the best of the obstacles, justifying his view by stating: “I like getting dirty — it’s fun.”
Rounding out the top ten among Newtown/Sandy Hook participants in the beginner/family run were: 5. Edward Lovely, 13, Sandy Hook (18:12); 7. Max Hanson, Newtown (19:08); 8. David Flock, 30, Newtown (19:24); 9. Owen Walsh, 12, Sandy Hook (19:27); and 10. Josh Dunn, 12, Sandy Hook (19:29).
Complete results are online on the Newtown Youth Academy’s webpage: nyasportsfitness.com.