By Paul T. Choate
Sept. 28, 2012. Stream crossing, hill climbs, trails, hay-bale climbs and a very muddy obstacle course come together to make up the inaugural Watauga Warrior Challenge on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 9 a.m. beginning at the Clawson-Burnley Pavilion in Boone.
The event is being put on by the Watauga Swim Team, a local non-profit organization with over 80 swimmers. In addition to the Warrior Challenge, there will be prizes, T-shirts, food and live music with proceeds benefiting the swim team.
“This is our big annual fundraiser to try to raise money,” said Watauga Swim Team President Chris Conner. “We’re a non-profit but it helps us offset expenses and we also have a scholarship program.”
In past years, the swim team has hosted a 5K run, but decided to do something a bit more challenging this year for the big fundraiser.
According to Conner, the challenge will begin on Greenway Trail and will consist of running through the North Fork of the New River, climbing hills and navigating through trails in the woods, hay-bale obstacle climbs and a long crawl under a net and a mud pit. In total, the challenge is four miles long.
There will also be a kids Challenge Run for children under 10 years old that will consist of a one-mile run and a bouncy house at the end for the kids to play in.
Conner said he realized the event was taking place the same day as Appalachian State University’s Homecoming football game, but said that was done intentionally to try to draw people from off the mountain who are up for the game to the challenge.
There are even plans in place already for a second annual Watauga Warrior Challenge next fall.
“This will definitely be an annual event,” said Conner “It will be kind of like the gauntlet we hope and just get bigger and bigger – more obstacles and challenges.”
Admission costs are $40 on the day of the race, $35 if you pre-register, $25 for students, $15 for children under 10 and $15 for the kids Challenge Run. Representatives from swim team corporate sponsor Sky Valley Zip Tours will be on hand offering zipline discounts to challenge participants.