A 5k run by itself would be a good run to get some exercise, but throw in a bunch of crazy obstacles, and it becomes an awesome experience.
Some examples of the obstacles can be found here. Here's a video of the same sort of race at a different location (with some slight variation to the obstacles).
When I first got there, it looked a little intimidating with all the obstacles spread out over the course but I soon found the registration pavilion and made my way to the start, the bouncing balls. It’s silly and fun to ride giant bouncing balls. I was aiming to have the most fun rather than exhaust myself so I stayed in the middle of my group.
After a quick run, we made it to a giant inflatable ramp. They had ropes but encouraged us to run up without them and for a hiker like me, the uphill slope wasn’t much of a difficulty and I got to slide down the other side. After a few more zigzags of jogging I made it to one of the hardest obstacles, the log swing (or whatever they called it). I watched a couple obstacle run shows from time to time, but grabbing a giant swinging foam roller is a lot tougher than it looks. I didn't get my legs around it and my arms alone couldn’t hold me, so already at the third obstacle I was soaking wet.
The windy run to the next obstacle helped me dry out a little bit and I was ready to try the pole vault. Instead of a traditional pole vault, it was more a challenge to hold on while your pole swung over the foam pad to the ramp on the other side. I made it without much trouble and moved forward to the stunt jump. It was probably the simplest obstacle involving only a quick climb then a jump down onto a large pad. Some of the people ahead of me did flips, but I decided to just flop down on the pad and keep going.
We got to enjoy the special odors of the farm that hosted the race as we ran past some barns and things. I was glad to get past that part and on the stunt trikes. Honestly I wished the trikes had a longer course. The quick loop around a tree made it feel like I was barely getting the hang of the trike before it was time to go on to the slip n slide.
After that, I ran into another difficult one: the punching wall. Climbing sideways while keeping your feet on a six-inch ledge wouldn't be too hard by itself but once you throw in some automated boxing gloves, it gets a lot tougher. I chose a bad hold and position to try and avoid the punches and slipped off. I would have liked to try again (and probably could have since it wasn’t a crowded race group) but decided to keep moving forward.
The next obstacle wasn't any easier. To pass it, you would have to jump, run, or hop between floating foam squares. The slightest imbalance would make them wobble or tip under you. I didn’t make it far before I was soaked again and crawling my way across the remaining pads.
Normally the next obstacle would have been the giant slide but the bad weather meant that one wouldn't be operating. Instead I had a nice jog on my way to the next to last one: the bowling pins. For this one, there’s three giant rotating bowling pins made of foam swinging above a couple lanes that span some water. I chose the far right one, but it was probably the toughest. The pins would constantly swing into the lane from the opposite direction that I would be running. After a quick countdown I was off. I had to pause then duck under a pin the veer to the far right but I managed to make it through.
After that, there was a break as I waited in line for the final thrill of the day: a climb up a thirty-foot high cargo net followed by a zipline onto a foam slide. The perfect adrenaline rush ending for such a crazy course.
For my first obstacle run, the Thrillseeker 5k was awesome! It would be even more fun to go as a team or with friends and family. Even with the rough weather it was a blast and I would have gladly done the obstacles over and over if I wasn't so worn out at the end.
There’s often running event calendars for whatever area you're in, so with a little research you could find similar fun events if you're not afraid of a little exercise, mud, and water. Go out, get fit, and have a blast!