Permanent obstacle courses are scattered around the world. Instead of picking up and moving from city to city these courses stay in a fixed location and often offer more than just a race day experience. The advantage of fixed or permanent obstacle courses are the designers and owners are able to create unique and often one of a kind obstacles. These unique obstacles lead to an experience for the racer that can often be one of a kind.
The second part to the permanent obstacle course is its location. Whether it is located in the scenic mountains of Vermont like Shale Hill, an all inclusive resort like Viking Obstacle Race or an old military training ground like Nuts Challenge. The location itself becomes part of the race experience and each one is unique. One of the unique courses is located outside of St. Louis, Missouri in Missouri wine country.
The Battlegrounds located at Cedar Lake Cellars is the world's only obstacle course built on and around a winery and vineyard. The owner of the property originally bought it as a weekend getaway and soon they began holding weddings for friends in the fully restored barn on the property. After a few years holding events the next step was turning this sprawling farmland into a winery and vineyard. All the while Carl Bolm, the owner, was indulging in his newest hobby – obstacle racing – on the weekends.
It didn't take long for Bolm to start to build obstacles and cut trails on his property.
He invited friends to come and run the course with him. His private course quickly took shape and soon was officially dubbed The Battlegrounds. The Battlegrounds began hosting races for the public and has become one of the premier permanent courses in the country.
The Battlegrounds course is situated on 170 acres at Cedar Lake Cellars. The course features two distances with either a 5K distance course or a 5-mile option. The 5-mile option boasts over thirty obstacles on the course with the 5K option slightly less. The terrain is a mixed of open fields, wooded single track, multiple ponds and of course a stroll through the grapes.
The crowning obstacles on the course include a 100 foot plus drop on their signature slide into a long pit of cold water. As well as The Gauntlet, this obstacle lets participants pick their poison which several routes through this challenging obstacle. As well they feature a 12-foot high platform that will test the strength of anyone who is afraid of heights. These obstacles and more are located in a central location with the cloverleaf course making it spectator friendly.
However, it is the post race amenities that have many of their competitors beat. Unlike many races which a cold rinse off after the event at Battlegrounds, they had set up a hot water shower system for after the race. It is the only obstacle race that offers participants a hot shower as a race perk. In addition, they also have changing areas for both men and women which individual changing stalls with mirrors for women as well as a private area to fully shower. No other race course in North America offers these amenities post race for that you have to go over to the United Kingdom to events like Rat Race Dirty Weekend.
After the Race
The Battlegrounds offers food vendors and race food on site but also welcomes all racers to visit the winery which is located a couple hundred feet from the start line. In addition to wine, the winery also offers a full menu for participants to order featuring a diverse menu. Picnic tables adorn the lawn of the winery allowing participants to order a meal have a glass of wine and watch participants run through the lily pad obstacle located on the pond just in front of the vineyard. The Battlegrounds hosts two races a year as well as special events.