A warrior’s challenge in Harlan County

Published 8:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2022

Summer is the time many fitness enthusiasts begin looking for outdoor challenges, hoping to spend some time in nature while testing their physical strength and endurance. The Warrior’s Challenge Obstacle Run on June 18, at Kingdom Come State Park presented an opportunity to do just that.

Kingdom Come Park Manager Sherry Cornett explained what the event consisted of in an interview a week before the event.

“It’s an actual 5k, except it has a little twist so it’s not just your normal run,” Cornett said. “We lay out handmade obstacles, we build walls, we put the runners through every test of strength that we can think of.”

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According to Cornett, participants swam the park’s lake four different times during the course. The participants also faced a mud climb.

“We wet the hillside down,” Cornett said. “We’ll add a little rope to help with footing going up the mountain, then they’ll slide down the other side through the mud.”

There will be assistance available for cleaning off following the event with mud.

“We’ll have the fire department here to help wash them off after they’re done,” Cornett said. “But they’ll have to wade and crawl through mud that’s about chest high, go through culverts, over walls, anything that we can throw at you to add a little extra challenge, we do it.”

Cornett said the challenge is actually finishing the race.

“It’s not really about who wins or loses,” Cornett said. “We do have awards for the first people through, but it’s really about being able to finish the course.”

Cornett noted this event may not be for everybody, as a level of physical fitness is necessary to get through the course.

“You can’t have a fear of water or a fear of heights or anything like that,” Cornett said. “It’s for anyone who likes a challenge and wants to prove to themselves they can do it, that they can withstand the physical test, the mental test and that they can make it through it.”

Cornett expressed her opinion on what may be the hardest part of the course.

“After swimming the lake, you immediately step out of the lake and you have a mud climb of about 150 to 200 feet, straight up the mountain. So, you’re already wet, the mountain is wet, it’s very steep, probably a 35 to 40 percent grade. You’ve got to make it to the top.”

The Warrior’s Obstacle Challenge is a popular annual event at the park.

“This will be our third year,” Cornett said. “We have anywhere from 45 to 75 participants every year.”