More than 40 volunteers lent a helping hand to The Ethan Foundation at Phil Moore Park on Wednesday, assisting organizers with construction of this year’s BG Gauntlet Mud Run obstacle course just days before the yearly event.
The eighth annual BG Gauntlet Mud Run will take place Saturday. CrossFit Old School has been the race director in the past, but The Ethan Foundation has taken the reins this year and will now be the sole beneficiary of the event’s proceeds, according to Caitlin Greenwell, the nonprofit’s executive director.
The mission of The Ethan Foundation is to raise awareness and promote a proactive, healthy lifestyle for youth, according to the organization’s website.
Greenwell, who’s currently in her first year as director of the foundation, posted a message to her personal Facebook page Monday night asking the community to help out with obstacle construction Tuesday and Wednesday since the original builder event organizers were counting on “backed out.”
“We just needed more assistance more so than anything,” Greenwell said Wednesday. “All of this lumber is donated by Kight, which used to be Carter Lumber, and we are able to reuse it for a couple of years. Everything is already cut to size and we build it with screws. We have the plans, we have photos and basically it’s just getting it put together.”
Locals were asked to bring tools – namely battery-powered drills, gas-powered augers, tillers and weed eaters – water and a good attitude to the park, where Greenwell and Erin Richter, co-founder of The Ethan Foundation, planned on working to make sure the mud run could go off without a hitch.
Greenwell said 40 to 45 volunteers showed up to build the course Wednesday, including her personal friends, several people from CrossFit Old School and “about 30 guys” from Men’s Addiction Recovery Campus.
A new contractor also came on board Wednesday – J Trapper Construction, a construction company owned by Bowling Green native Trapper Pendleton.
“I think they are going to prove to be a big help today,” Greenwell said about the construction professionals. “They came through last minute. This morning was the first time I’d ever met them, so we’ve had a lot of support from the community. It’s humbling to know that there are so many people that care for the cause of The Ethan Foundation and want to see it be successful.”
Andrew Swanson, a member of The Ethan Foundation board of directors, said volunteers were tasked with creating roughly 24 obstacles. “It’s digging holes, making sure things are square, building things, hanging ropes, doing slides – really just constructing more than anything,” Swanson said.
Swanson said he was appreciative of the opportunity to get out of his office, especially since it meant “contributing to something bigger” than himself.
“I think one of the greatest things about the Bowling Green community and the Warren County community is when you need help, people will step up and they will come out here and they will give everything that they possibly can,” Swanson said. “Everyone on the board has a full-time job – some people have two jobs – and they still make time to come out here ... hopefully with the people who attend the event and participate, they can kind of see that love, passion and dedication that we’re putting into this.”
The “premier adventure challenge” will be a 5K run featuring walls, mud pits and other obstacles that participants can enjoy for $65. “It all goes toward The Ethan Foundation and we put scholarships back into the community and we put on after-school exercise programs and health programs and different things for children and children’s families,” Greenwell said.
BG Gauntlet recommends participants be 13 or older, although those under 13 can run with a parent or guardian present, according to the event’s website. Pre-registration will be available online until noon Friday. Participants can also register on the day of the event, but Greenwell said those runners should show up at least 30 minutes prior to their heat with cash or check.
The first heat, for competitive runners only, begins at 7:30 a.m. General heats are scheduled for 8, 8:30, 9 and 9:30 a.m. Greenwell said the event already has over 270 people registered, but organizers anticipate 350 runners total.
Festivities are slated to begin early Saturday morning at the rain or shine event. In addition to pride and a little extra mud on their shoes, runners will also walk away with a goody bag, an event T-shirt and a post-race snack.
“There have been obstacles – no pun intended – to hurdle, but it’s nothing that we can’t work through this first year, and everything will go a lot smoother in the years to come,” Greenwell said. “We are definitely the original here in Bowling Green. We’ve had eight years of experience, so we make our obstacles larger, we’ve made the course larger and it’s just a lot of fun.”
For more information and to register, visit www.bggauntlet.com.