Last weekend I was in Missouri for a weekend of racing and working. One of the events was Summer Splash put on by a partnership of Mud Run Guide and The Battlegrounds obstacle course at Cedar Lake Cellars (the permanent course at a vineyard, but that’s another post). With Mud Run Guide putting on the event I personally wore many hats that day, from registration to OCRWC qualifier recording to sweeping the course. I volunteered to sweep the course, a task I haven’t had the time or access to do in a long time.
Sweeping the course, is basically walking the course after the last racers have gone off and sticking behind them and clearing the obstacles as they complete each one. As I ran off onto the course I saw not many people on course until I eventually caught up with an older gentleman and a young girl. One of the highlights of Summer Splash was the unique opportunity for parents (or grandparents in this case) to run with their children on course. This was an opportunity for kids to run the full 5K course with an adult family member, and a first in OCR history.
As I caught up to this duo at an obstacle called Alligator Alley and began to chat with them. I asked the girl if it was ok if I walked the course with them for a while. The man was Reed Porter of Mid America Obstacle Course Racers and his granddaughter L as they call her. After a little while Reed asked if I was sweeping the course and I said yes but said take all the time you want and settled into a pace that L wanted to go.
As we walked the course together I learned more about this duo and saw the bond these two have for each other. Reed had run the elite heat earlier in the morning just missing qualifying for OCRWC by about 10 racers or so. This was his second go around on the course that day. It was L’s first obstacle race and first 5K all together. She said she is normally into gymnastics.
The duo made their way through each obstacle on course. I even commented to L one of the obstacles some adults have trouble with and she just laughed. She told me all about their family and in the process heard Reed’s story as well. He had started obstacle racing just a year ago, and a few years earlier started a weight loss journey which has led him to dropping over 120lbs through diet and exercise.
As we got into the later obstacles on this muddy course the day was taking a toll on L but she pushed through. She even conquered her fear and made the giant leap off, Drop Zone Obstacle, the tall platform into the water. As the two approached the finish line, I had the honor of placing L’s medal around her neck. Her smile and the look on her grandfather’s face was priceless.
In an industry that is often riddled with drama, cynicism, bloated egos, and more, this moment and this family were an example of all that is good in the world of OCR and their story is one of love. OCR and bridge generations and bring families today, for Reed and L it was a day they both will remember for a long time. I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 years down the road as L is nearing her 30’s she remembers this day fondly and cherishes her time with her grandfather.