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Covered in mud, water, sweat, and suds – yes soap suds – grass clippings (and stains) participants of the annual Mad Dash adventure race crossed the finish line at Fairfield Hills on the morning of June 17.
Riley Rising, for the fourth year in a row, led the Elite Course field; Rising finished in a time of 38:30.
Liz Chamiec-Case was the top female competitor and placed tenth overall.
Also finishing among the top ten were runner-up Joel Duval, followed by Matt Jacobs, Joey Conrod, Evan Hildenbran, John Nahmias, Grant Moxham, Ethan Roman, and Tom Hartley.
The event, as always, was put on by Newtown Parks and Recreation and NYA Sports & Fitness.
Times were not officially tracked at this year’s Mad Dash.
The Elite Course was a 4.3 mile, three-lap test of strength and endurance that took runners through 4.3 miles of Fairfield Hills terrain chock full of challenging obstacles – 15 of them to be exact.
The race was followed by a Mini Dash which took the youngest participants through seven stations/obstacles, culminating with the always popular mud crawl. Then came the Open Course which was a one-lap, 1.7-mile effort.
Nobody had it easy.
“Torturous,” was the way Rory Edwards described the Elite Course, adding he had a reason for being up to the task. “I just like to keep myself in shape.”
Participants went through the tunnel crawl, tire obstacle, and climbed over hay bales before making their way across balance beams while fighting blasts of water from firefighters. The next obstacle, dubbed the “tar and feather” station was a crawl through grass clippings that stuck to the wet runners.
After going under and over police barriers, participants climbed barrier walls, endured the trainer challenge, then crawled through a long mud pit, carried heavy rocks up a steep hill, and brought out the cross country in themselves on the long trail run.
The ladder excursion tested body control as much as strength as competitors made their way, monkey bar style, across suspended ladders. The slip and slide, this year, featured soap suds. Competitors conquered the monster hill, then got through the wall jump obstacle before running to the finish.
Rising typically runs 5K road races, but says there is something special about the Mad Dash.
“It’s definitely my favorite race but it’s very challenging,” Rising said.
“The hills kind of got me but it was fun,” said Chamiec-Case, adding that the soapy slip and slide portion of the course was her favorite.
Sandy Hook’s Gary Jeanfaivre, who ran the Elite Course, pointed out that completing the cluster of obstacles three times wasn’t just about physical prowess.
“It’s as much physical endurance as it is mental endurance so you just have to power through it,” Jeanfaivre said.
“It was awesome,” said Bethany Lyons who, along with Ryan O’Connell and Matt DelMonte, represented the Sikorsky team that participated together.
There were several parent-child and sibling combos to work together throughout the course. Sons and daughters benefited from mom- and dad-provided boosts up high for the suspended ladders. Mad Dash volunteers helped participants over the barrier walls.
The young brother-sister duo of Tommy and Lauren Milligan enjoyed the many obstacles.
“It was really challenging,” Lauren said.
“I’ve never done anything like it,” Tommy added.
Jeanfaivre, noted that the Mad Dash is a healthy way for people to get out and have fun.
“It’s a good example of what a great community Newtown is,” Jeanfaivre pointed out.