Climb, maneuver, leap, jump and swing with the Ultimate Obstacle Course Race - Albuquerque Journal

Climb, maneuver, leap, jump and swing with the Ultimate Obstacle Course Race

Von Trullinger, 45, practices working his way across parallel bars at the Ultimate Ninja Obstacle Gym in preparation for the Ultimate Obstacle Course Race on May 14. (Courtesy of Ultimate Ninja Obstacle Gym)

The Albuquerque fitness sect is getting ready to join the exploding popularity of running races that now require more than just fleet feet.

An intrepid group of men, women and even youngsters will tackle – and climb, maneuver, leap, jump and even swing – the Ultimate Obstacle Course Race on Saturday, May 14.

The 3-kilometer, fiendish route will wend its way through the North Valley to and from the Ultimate Ninja Obstacle Gym as competitors will attempt to conquer about 25 different obstacles along the way, said race director Bob Clark.

The course is shorter than many, similar type of races, he said, but enlivened by more obstacles.

“To me, it makes it more fun,” he said. “It’s not quite as much running, but more obstacles and more fun.”

The obstacles are fairly standard fare, Clark said, like swinging across rings, climbing a rope and hitting a bell, flipping a tire, negotiating a cargo net, a water bucket carry or carrying weight ball.

“We have strength items and agility items,” he said. “It’s a variety of different types of obstacles but they’re all doable types of obstacles.”

That combination was enough to attract 45-year-old Albuquerque resident Von Trullinger to give it a try.

“I kind of started doing the ninja stuff, ‘American Ninja Warrior,’ like you see on TV, when I was 40,” he said. “Then I decided, OCR looked pretty cool. Ninja-type obstacles running, I thought that would be another good sport for me to try out. The ninja is pretty hard obstacles and can be pretty hard on the body, but the OCR is a little more maintainable long term.”

It all kind of fits in with his energetic lifestyle, Trullinger said.

“I also do a little bit of biking and mountain biking,” he said. “My main thing that I like doing is being active, just trying to stay in shape long term and being able to do these things and to be able to do them for a long period of time and staying healthy and being active.”

Shannon Lawson, 45, of Albuquerque, just picked up the sport in January after being inspired in part by her child who has participated in ninja events.

“So far, so good,” she said. “It trains me in different ways that normal work out classes don’t do so it has helped me. What it does is trains muscle groups that are not used to training in normal exercise classes, small muscle groups mixed with agility and balance that are not really used in typical exercise classes.”

Additionally, being a competitor, Lawson said there is another person in the class that she would very much love to leave in her dust.

“There is this 40-year-old that’s always competing, always turning everything into a competition and I want to beat him,” she said with a laugh. “I just want to make myself better.”

While age-group winners will get the chance to go to Las Vegas, Nevada, in July to compete in nationals, Trullinger said he’s just happy he has the chance to compete in his home town.

“I’m really excited. I really wish Albuquerque had more OCR races,” he said. “We really only have a couple, so I’m really excited for the opportunity to participate in an OCR race locally.”

What makes it fun and challenging, Trullinger said, is the combination of running and the obstacle course.

“I like the obstacles more,” he said. “The run can be a challenge. Another aspect that makes it hard is when you combine run with obstacles because the run gets you really tired and then you have to do an obstacle that wouldn’t be challenging if you’re completely rested.”

Clark said he’s hoping several hundred competitors will eventually sign up, particularly because the proceeds go to the local Wings for Life, an organization that aims to transform lives and break the generational cycle of incarceration. The organization looks for ways to rebuild assets in the lives of children who have a parent or parents in prison.

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