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Gladiator Rock'N Run - you have to be a little bit crazy

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Over 2000 people participated in the Dec. 8 Gladiator Rock'N Run in Floresville, south of San Antonio, including a group from Bandera. Competing in the challenging race were Bandera High School exchange students Eric Opitz and Eveliina Kuusisto, and Michael and Cody Tuma.
The 5K (3-4 miles depending on location) gladiator style race takes cross country running to a whole new level, with numerous obstacles along the route, including fire! Yes, the runners have to run through or leap over stuff that is burning! That's probably one of the reasons competitors have to sign a waiver before starting the race.
Organizers divide the participants into waves, groups of 500 or so, that contain men and women of all ages from 14 up. The waves set off at 30-minute intervals.
The race website urges participants to take a "gut check that includes 1. Looking in the mirror, 2. Take in a stiff breath of courage, 3. Chastise yourself for taking life too seriously, 4. Promise yourself you'll be 'Gladiator Tough' and do better today than you did yesterday, and 5. Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."
The course included 17 "insane obstacles" to test "courage, stamina and grit."
The obstacles included walls to scale, ropes to climb, tires to scramble through, dumpsters to explore, mud pits, heavy bag toting, hills to leap over, climb up and slide down, and more mud pits.
"This was the first time I took part in this kind of mud race and I had so much fun!" said Kuusisto. "It was a 5K run with all different kinds of obstacles, for example monkey bars, rope climbing, wall of fame, and of course mud pits. The race took a lot of energy and we were all covered in mud from head to toes, but it was definitely worth it and I'm thinking about doing it again." Kuusisto, from Finland, plays soccer at BHS.
Spectators are more than welcome to attend. In fact, the organizers make sure family and friends can witness "your thrills of victory and spills of defeat."
The Gladiator Rock'N Run hosts races all across the country. They will return to Texas, in Dallas, in May of 2013. The races were created by Dan Clark, from the original American Gladiators series on TV.
Training tips include going "up to the toughest, biggest person you can find and punch them in the face, then run as fast and as far as you can." If you can't complete an obstacle, you are allowed to go around, and you don't have to know how to swim to complete the course. Showers, which may or may not include hot water, are available.
Costumes are encouraged, spandex is not.
The after party includes plenty of great music, food and beer.
The San Antonio event raised money for TACA, Talk About Curing Autism.