Race for the history books

Civil War-themed challenge to benefit nonprofits

HARPERS FERRY — The popular Ironman and Tough Mudder competitions are tough, but they’re not getting-chased-by-a-Civil-War-general-on-horseback tough.

If competitors want that kind of tough they’ll have to try the Charge 5K Obstacle Challenge Race and Kids Fun Run happening April 13 at Sam Michaels Park in Harpers Ferry.

The race will feature not only obstacles that competitors must maneuver over, under and through, but will be designed based on historical landmarks from the Civil War and will include athletes being led through the course by Civil War re-enactors on horseback.

The idea for the race came from a joint committee that included Katie Nolan Thompson, program coordinator for the Outdoor Education Center of For Love of Children, a Harpers Ferry nonprofit that provides outdoor activities for children. Thompson said the idea for the obstacle challenge race came out of a desire to combine events similar to Tough Mudder, but with the Eastern Panhandle’s rich history.

LEFT: The Charge 5K Obstacle Challenge Race and Kids Fun Run committee members (from left) Katie Nolan Thompson, Tara Sanders Lowe, Jennifer Myers and Sheri Fiolec say the Civil War-themed race they designed is every bit as rigorous as the popular Ironman and Tough Mudder competitions, but with a Civil War twist.

The Charge 5K Obstacle Challenge Race and Kids Fun Run committee members
(from left) Katie Nolan Thompson, Tara Sanders Lowe, Jennifer
Myers and Sheri Fiolec say the Civil War-themed race they designed is every bit as
rigorous as the popular Ironman and Tough Mudder competitions,
but with a Civil War twist.

“I have done races, but they weren’t timed and weren’t as competitive as I’d like it to be,” Thompson said.

Teams are not required to compete in the Charge 5K Obstacle Challenge Race and Kids Fun Run and none of the obstacles are more than 8 feet tall.

There are three different options for participants to compete in at the race. The first option, “Full on Chargers,” will begin at 8 a.m. and is meant “for people who are in it to win,” Thompson said.

Racers will be timed and if they fail to complete an obstacle, they must do 10 push-ups under the supervision of a volunteer that will be at each obstacle.

The second option, “Chargers,” starts at 8:30 a.m. and requires each racer to at least attempt each obstacle or be required to perform 10 push-ups that are not supervised.

The third option, “Light Chargers,” starts at 9 a.m. and does not require racers to complete obstacles they are not able to and does not require any push-ups.

The obstacles for the Charge 5K Obstacle Challenge Race and Kids Fun Run were designed by Vanessa Stolarski, a Shannondale resident and founder of 3V Training, which offers strength training services.

Stolarski has participated in nearly a dozen “mud runs” in the last four years and looking for ways to improve them.

“I was always thinking about what could have been done differently,” Stolarski said, adding she took cues from the many historical markers in the area and took photos and wrote down information to help her design obstacles.

“I want it on the map along with the other really memorable races,” Stolarski said of the Charge 5K Obstacle Challenge Race and Kids Fun Run. “This is such a unique theme and everybody has worked so hard putting it together. I just want participants to cross the finish line saying ‘heck yeah! Let’s do that again!’”

Online registration for the race is $55 and ends April 5. Participants can also sign up the day of the race for $60 and must be 18 to participate. The Kids Fun Run fundraiser is open to children that are at least 5 and proceeds from the event will go to Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission and the Outdoor Education Center of For Love of Children.

For more information, visit www.thechargechallengerace.com.

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