Organizers of Reynoldsburg's fourth annual Heroes for Heroes 5K are promising this year's event will offer all the usual elements -- plus a surprise obstacle somewhere along the course through Civic Park.
Registration and packet pick up opens at 7 a.m. and the race runs from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, at Civic Park, 6800 Daugherty Drive.
Bailey Sparks, command and staff administrative assistant at the Reynoldsburg Police Department, said 85 participants, making up 24 teams, have registered so far this year.
"We have continued to grow each year and we are excited to see our community become more involved with this event," she said. "We expect to have around 150 participants on race day this year."
You don't have to be a first responder to participate, however. People of all ages and occupations are welcome, she said.
"This year, registration is open to both kids and adults, so if your 9-year-old can't go over a wall, they get to do an extra task obtainable to their skill level to move on," she said. "The important thing is we are all supporting a great cause together, whether we are running or walking the course."
Individual registration costs $25 and registration for a four-person team costs $60.
More information and online registration is available at racepenguin.com/events/heroesforheroes.
"The Heroes obstacle course is a great way to bring the community together for an awesome cause," Sparks said.
The race is a fundraiser for Hope for the Warriors, a nonprofit organization that works to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members, their families and families of the fallen.
Sponsored by the Reynoldsburg Parks & Recreation Department, the Reynoldsburg Division of Police and the Truro Township Fire Department, the event features teams of one to four people navigating a course that includes high walls, low crawls, sked (stretcher) pulls and tire flips, plus wading through mud pits.
Brian McGuire, from the city's parks department, said park personnel begin working on the course two days prior to the event.
"We make sure the paths are clear and put up caution tape to mark the course and pick up debris," he said. "Some of the obstacles stay from year-to-year, but others have to be constructed."
He said it would be "all hands on deck" for park personnel and volunteers at 5 a.m. on race day.
"The course pretty much encompasses the entire park," he said. "It kicks off in the parking lot, then goes all the way to the south end of the park. It goes through the woods and across the stream and over several areas and obstacles."
He said Truro Township firefighters bring a fire truck to hose down "the mud crawl," which is not far from the finish line.
"They also make sure there are no large pieces of debris in the mud pit," he said.
Last year, Heroes for Heroes drew 100 participants and raised just over $3,350.
"I love that this event can involve everyone and can be as challenging as you decide to make it," Sparks said. "If you want to run the entire course and really barrel through the obstacles, it will definitely test you and your abilities to problem-solve on the spot."
A new "surprise" obstacle will be added to the course this year, she said.
"I think it's going to challenge people and throw a twist in the course," Sparks said. "The sked pull always seems to be the biggest challenge - you don't think it will be that hard to pull your teammate 25 yards, but you are toward the end of the course and starting to be drained of energy."
Sparks said she hopes people will come out to participate or cheer for the people running the course.
"This event is really all about raising money for a good cause," she said.