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Gladiator Rock’n Run billed as a test of courage, stamina and grit

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Mudy Couple
A muddy couple struggles to complete “Mud Madness." Courtesy photo.
It used to be that a marathon was the race to test your mettle, but recently, a new type of challenge is making waves. It’s the Gladiator Rock ’n Run, an extreme obstacle-based race that’s designed to be difficult, but as organizer Dan “Nitro” Clark says, “not impossible.”

Clark, a fitness expert and consultant, who once starred on the popular reality T.V. show “American Gladiators” is the man behind the race.

He created Gladiator Rock ’n Run as an adventurous opportunity for people seeking a different way to challenge themselves. “I believe there’s something inside each of us looking to get out, explore, conquer and really live,” explains Clark.

“This event speaks to that need. It’s about getting out of the cubicle — standing up — claiming your right to have frickin’ fun and owning it. I think what we all really want out of life is more life. My hope is just for a weekend I can bring that experience to people.”

The first Gladiator Rock ’n Run was held in Orange County, Calif.,  in December 2010. It proved to be wildly successful, leaving participants wanting more.

This year, a total of five events will be held with Seattle now joining the list of sites for the first time.

Next year, Clark plans to have up to a dozen Gladiator Rock ’n Runs across the country.

“There’s been such an overwhelming response of athletes and weekend warriors looking for the ultimate thrill that it’s hard to keep up with the demand,” comments Clark. “But, I want to expand slowly so I can make sure to continue to bring an amazing experience to all participants.” The upcoming Seattle area Gladiator Rock ’n Run, which will take place at Pacific Raceway in Kent, is expected to draw 4,000 – 5,000 people with another 2,500 spectators. Those entering the event will have to navigate 14 obstacles (plus one bonus obstacle and a “nightmare mystery”) over a 3.15 mile course.

The obstacles have names such as “Wrecking Ball,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Mud Madness,” “Terrible Tires,” “Cargo Congo Climb,” “Buddha’s Burden” among others.

Participants will slither on their bellies through mud, scramble up cargo nets over massive cargo containers, race through fiery flames, dash through a series of giant swinging balls and scale tall walls.

Clark notes that the event has attracted on average the same amount of women as men.

He adds, “All ages, sexes and sizes compete. The only requirement is that they need to be ‘Gladiator Tough’ and have an appetite for adventure with a desire to live the dream.”

He emphasizes that the event is a race, but it’s also a personal challenge with the goal of each individual to do the best he/she can to complete the course. And if you need another reason to participate, Clark says, “The money we raise is going to a good cause – TACA, Talk About Curing Autism, a national organization dedicated to supporting families affected by autism.” He adds, “I chose this to be this year’s charity because I have three friends with kids that have autism. It motivated me to try and do my part and raise funds and awareness for the cause.”

The last Gladiator event raised $15,000 and increased exposure for TACA with features about the organization on FOX TV, FOX Sports Radio, ABC Radio and three articles in the Orange County Register. Clark encourages everyone to enter the race to test their courage, stamina and grit.

“Dare to be different,” he says. “Accept the challenge and release the gladiator/goddess inside of you!”

What: Gladiator Rock ’n Run

When: Saturday, October 29

Where: Pacific Raceways in Kent

Registration information: www.gladiatorrocknrun.com.

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