“Winter Rush” competitors scale walls, climb hills for ultimate running challenge


Nicole Maag doesn’t consider herself much of a runner.

But when her husband, Joe Maag, signed up for a wintry trail run complete with an obstacle course at Richmond Park, she knew she couldn’t stand by and watch.

Nicole Maag and her husband, along with several other couples, opted to compete against one another. Gender rivalry seemed to be the theme of their race day.

“My husband played ‘Eye of the Tiger’ all the way here and laughed at me,” she said on Saturday, just before the full-out winter challenge began.

The first-time competitor stood, looking out at the course, as her husband walked by, joking and holding up his cell phone that played the song ‘We Will Rock You.’

“Are you scared?” He asked.

The two were ready for a good time.

More than 100 runners laced up their shoes Saturday morning and braved a 1 1/2 mile snow and ice-covered course at Richmond Park for the first annual “Winter Rush” challenge.

Participants moved through several obstacles along the way, including a limbo station where they attempted to bend low without collapsing, a wall they had to climb and a special “Mount Everest” right before the end.

The hill may not have been a real mountain, but it sure seemed like one, runners said.

Nate Phelps, race director, said he designed each of the obstacles with a goal of challenging participants and offering them a new experience and a chance to explore the park.

The big hill was his favorite partundefinedthough he smiled sheepishly while explaining why.

“You think you get to the top and you’re just beginning,” Phelps said, explaining a mid-hill turn leading to a continuing incline.

The race ended with participants jumping into sleds to slide down another hill leading to the finish line.

As Blair Smith wiped the snow off her jacket and congratulated Nicole Maag on her finish, the two realized their husbands came out well ahead.

Smith described the experience in two words: “Painful and embarrassing.”

But she laughed.

“I survived.”

The two planned to be back again for another attempt next year.

“It was fun, but you might want to prepare a little better,” they said.

Back to Articles

Leave a Comment