WALLINGFORD – For the past six years, Steve Holland, the Chief Medical Officer at Gaylord Hospital, has made the Gaylord Gauntlet 5K a successful, and entertaining, community event. This year’s Gauntlet run, which is sold out, takes place June 22. But the community can come out to watch and cheer on the participants.
There are 24 obstacles throughout the course, which is on hospital property. Runners should expect to crawl, jump and climb during the race. Water and mud provide key components to many of the obstacles.
“We try to bring in two new obstacles a year and change three other obstacles,” Holland said.
Gaylord’s Director of Facilities Bob Hall, and Supervisor of Facilities Tim Polaske developed the course using the natural terrain to their advantage. Logs from fallen trees are placed over streams and serve as balance beams.
The Gaylord Gauntlet offers alternative routes for the hospital’s adaptive athletes. Children as young as 12 can register. Participants under the age of 16 are encouraged to participate with a parent to help them determine if the obstacles are safe for them.
Athletes in their 70’s have participated. People of varying abilities are encouraged to join the Gauntlet.
“We wanted it to be as inclusionary as possible. We wanted as many people, regardless of physical fitness, to be able to participate. And we certainly wanted adaptive athletes and anyone with a disability to be able to participate” Holland said.
A banner detailing the list of the event’s sponsors will be displayed next to the course map on race day. Donations can be used to sponsor certain obstacles. Some organizations will have a banner above the obstacle they supported.
“This is a fund raiser race. All of the proceeds that we get from the race go to our sports association,” Holland said.
Gaylord’s sports association is centered around providing sports to adaptive athletes. There are 18 sports that athletes of varying abilities can participate in, including team sports.
Volunteers stationed at every obstacle survey participants and make recommendations for them based on their level of ability. Much of the race takes place in a heavily wooded area where a path has been cleared for the event.
More than 100 people have volunteered for the upcoming Gauntlet. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old and those under 18 must have a parent or guardian present on the day of the event.
5. Race Day
Race participant’s friends and families are invited to the Gauntlet launch area, behind the main entrance of Gaylord hospital. Community spectators are also welcomed to join in the race day excitement.
In addition to food and music, a beer tent and massage therapists will be on site. Showers will be provided for athletes following completion of the mud run. An award ceremony takes place at 3 p.m.
If you are interested in learning more about the Gaylord Gauntlet 5K, or supporting the event, please visit https://gaylordgauntlet.everydayhero.do.
Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris – https://dearfitkris.com/