Published October 13, 2012
Look like fun? Course in Lacey challenges reporter, 950 othersCHELSEA KROTZER
Editor’s note: Following is reporter Chelsea Krotzer’s first-person account of participating in the second Rampage at the RAC event in Lacey. I went on a rampage Saturday. A cold breeze blew as the rain started to fall. Teams wearing matching T-shirts, tutus and sweatbands were laughing, eager for the start of the race. Solo runners spent spare moments stretching, warming up for the Rampage at the RAC at Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex. There were 15 obstacles ready to be conquered by all 950 participants, including me. That’s down from the event’s inaugural year, which attracted about 1,200 participants, said recreation supervisor Jenny Wilson. The numbers likely would have been higher in August or September, Wilson said, but the complex isn’t available for such use until children are back in school. Besides, organizers would have had a hard time finding severed legs, arms and brains to include in the new “toxic” gelatin pit if it weren’t October. The contents of the pit – 1,000 gallons of water and a gelatin mixture – weren’t edible. If the dismembered body parts didn’t sway runners, the constant announcements were a useful reminder. “We have kept announcing, ‘Don’t eat the Jell-o or dive into it,’” Wilson said. After being blasted by white foam at the starting line, we raced through the RAC and into the woods, climbing up and down through trails, making sure not to trip on protruding roots or fallen trees. I left my glasses in the car to avoid breaking them. The only way I could safely make it through the woods was by following a member of a team donning florescent T-shirts that said, “Nice RAC” – or, in the case of the well-humored woman I was trailing, “Where’s My Nice RAC?” The team of five women are from the Yelm and Lacey areas. The only event veteran was Brianna Whitehead of Yelm. “I did it last year and loved it,” she said. “It was my first race like this, ever.” Whitehead’s newfound passion for obstacle runs helped persuade her workout friends to join. “This covers us for today,” she said. “No need to go the gym.” Thanks to help of Whitehead’s teammate, I made it over the last fallen log in the woods without injury, moving on to crawling on hands and knees through a giant black pipe and over a cargo net that led to another wooded area apparently inhabited by zombies. Two lumbered out from the depths of the woods, moaning as I ran past. The toxic trench, though small, must have been where the zombies brought any runners who fell behind. After slipping on what looked like a brain, I managed to crawl out and head straight to the next obstacle, a giant slip-and-slide that, though cold, helped rid any excess green gelatin clinging to my pants. I slid down face-first to the bottom of the hill. Cold and dripping wet, it was time to climb over 16 hay bales weighing a staggering 1,000 pounds each in two large stacks. Now I was cold, wet and covered in hay. After a few more climbing obstacles, including the hoods of junk cars and hurdles, the end was in sight. All that stood in my way was a leap over fire and a crawl through mud – three times the amount of mud at last year’s event, Wilson said. The first of three sections wasn’t too difficult to navigate, but it seemed the farther in I climbed, the deeper and thicker the mud became. By the third pool of mud, slowing down meant one likely could get stuck. Covered from the chest down, I managed to make my way to the finish line, shoes sloshing with leftover mud, water and gelatin, crossing at about the 35-minute mark. An event bonus? The only way participants can easily get cleaned is by being sprayed down by freezing-cold water from a water truck. Now that it’s over, next year awaits. Organizers already have begun planning, and they might include an event for ages 18 and younger.