Pumpkin dash

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 10, 2013

MOUNT ULLA — Jake Stocker repeated the same phrase over and over until he crossed the finish line at the Pumpkin Dash Adventure Run, held Saturday at Patterson Farm — “never stop or stop will come to you.”
The 10-year-old was also thinking he wanted a strong finish. He was just one competitor among hundreds who participated in the annual event where the proceeds benefit the Rowan County United Way campaign.
He came in 10th place in his division and was enthusiastic about the race before it even began.
“My goal is to have fun,” he said just before competing
“We came out here to have fun whether we win or lose,” he said.
He attended the event with his parents and friend, Jared Wetzler.
This isn’t Jake’s first adventure run, he’s also participated in the Zombie Run Challenge in Charlotte and the Down & Dirty Adventure Run in Landis.
Friends Ashley Broadway and Lauren Houston were challenged by Crystal Karriker to compete in the event. Karriker teaches the women exercise boot camp classes at the South Rowan YMCA and also competes in adventure runs. It was the first time participating in an adventure for both Broadway and Houston, who said they’ve been training with Karriker.
“It was very challenging, but it was a great first time,” Broadway said.
Houston said the hardest for her was running through the mud because it began to weigh her down. The tomatoes, Broadway said almost made her sick.
Part of the obstacles included running through mushy tomatoes and crawling under a rope through thick mud.
Broadway and Houston, team named Buns on the Run, came in third in the team division. The two also plan to do other adventure runs, Houston said.
Michael Hatley competed with friend, Brett Brinson, in a two-man team and his wife, Jill Hatley and Jennifer Dry also competed together.
Michael said he just found out about the Pumpkin Dash, but has participated in the Spartan Race, but admits to being out of shape. He was sidelined after an injury and hadn’t been able to run. His goal was to “not die,” he said laughing.
More importantly he wanted to “go out there and have fun.”
Hatley had what he called a lazy man’s strategy to maneuvering underneath a rope through the mud. He stretched out and rolled underneath until he reached the end ropes and out of the mud pit.
The hardest part of the adventure run, he said, was going through a tube after Brinson who left a trail of soapy water in his wake.
Teresa Earnest and her niece Skylar Earnest competed in their first adventure run. They have however competed in 5Ks, but decided to give the event a try.
“I wanted to see if I could do it,” Teresa said.
The two crossed the finish line, hands raised in the air and smiles on their faces.
Sklyar said the hardest was the mud because she kept getting stuck, while Teresa said the thing that gave her the most trouble was climbing the hay bales.
“I didn’t think I could, but I’m pleased.” Teresa said.
Skylar said she surprised herself and did better than she thought she would.
Carson Michael, 10, his sisters Caelyn, 9, and Carrigan, 4, all competed in the run.
Carson said he was surprised to run through the mushy tomatoes and peppers because he at first thought they were fake, but quickly realized they were very real.
“I smelled like tomatoes for the first half of the race,” he said.
He said it felt good to accomplish something and he’d compete again. Carson won seventh place in the entire competition.
His sister, Caelyn said the best part of the race was the running. She didn’t very much like all the obstacles. She came in sixth place in the kids fun run.
Cathy Michael, mom to Carson, Caelyn and Carrigan, said she’s happy the children are excited about being active.
Cathy runs, swims and bikes and said being active is very important to her, but said it’s “even better when they see you do it.”
For complete results of the Pumpkin Dash Adventure Run, go to www.salisburyrowanrunners.org.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.