I’ve dragged my four-year-old son to obstacles course races across the southern United States over the past few years. He seems to like watching me from the sidelines, especially cheering me on at any multi-rig or fear of heights inducing obstacle. He proudly poses with me post-race too.
At home, he enjoys watching American Ninja Warrior with me, as long as Daniel Tiger nor PJ Masks isn’t on television. He’s started setting up obstacle courses in the living room – touch the floor and it’s like you fell into the water. I’ve even heard from his teacher that he’s regularly winning the obstacle course races in his pre-k class.
This past weekend, he had a chance to do more than a homemade obstacle course in the living room. He got to be the one that dragged me to a race. Okay, maybe I helped scout out the race. It’s not easy to find a race when you’re only four and don’t have a credit card.
Leading up to the race, we trained together. This included playing chase. Practicing the monkey bars at the local playground and even seeing who could do the most pull-ups. I’m hoping this is the start with my new workout partner and race buddy.
The Course and Obstacles
On race day, he was so excited that he practically ran ahead to the registration tent, however, the real fun began in the starting line corral. There the starting line hypeman adjusted his talk for the kids in front of him. My favorite part was seeing the kids do the warm-up routine, complete with wiggling to get the body loose. My son’s favorite part was the countdown.
The kid's course was about a half mile across a mix of field and mud. Highlight obstacles included a mini-mud pit, half sized A-frame cargo net, an adorable, I mean tough looking tire drag and the grand finale was a set of pint-sized monkey bars.
The obstacles were simple but didn’t seem like an afterthought like what I’ve overseen at other races. The course was easy to follow and long enough to seem like a real course, but not too long for the kids.
The race ended after the monkey bars. My son jumped down and didn’t look back. He surprised me by how quick he sprinted across the finish line. He was greeted with a full-size medal and high fives from random adult finishers.
He wore the Terrain Race finishers shirt and medal proudly for the rest of the day, including to the post-race celebratory lunch. More than once, he said he’s ready for his next race.
The only thing that was missing was a race photographer. Luckily, most of the course it was possible for my wife to take photos and the pace wasn’t so intense that it made it possible to sneak in a few photos.
The Festival Area
What festival area? This was the area of the biggest disappointment. There wasn’t much to do after the race. Actually, there was nothing. A couple of tables to sit at, but that’s it. No food. No beer. In fact, there was nothing other the post-race water. There was no entertainment. No vendors to check out. After the race, there wasn’t anything to see or do.
It’s the main reason, I decided to skip the adult race. I couldn’t justify forcing them to stand around with nothing to do while I raced.
For a first kid’s race, the Terrain Race Mini-Monkey, I don’t think I could’ve picked a better race for my son’s first official OCR race. He walked away from a very happy camper. I highly recommend the Mini-Monkey for any parent looking for an obstacle course for their son or daughter. I would give the Mini-Monkey five stars.
As far as Terrain Race in general, I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for next year. There’s been the talk of improvements, I hope that it isn't just talking. Until then, I’d have a hard time recommending to an adult friend that they should try a Terrain Race.
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