Zooming down a 120-foot slip and slide, rope climbing, crawling in tunnels and running through mud are just a few of at least 20 obstacles participants must overcome in BoldrDash, a 5K military-style course designed not only to challenge strength and stamina of all athletic abilities, but also raise funds for local charities and organizations geared toward families and children.
Lynn Hall, president and founder of BoldrDash, has been inviting local charities to partner with her to earn money for their respective organizations, in exchange for recruiting event volunteers and participating in pre-event co-marketing and advertising.
She recently called on the J. Arthur Memorial Trudeau Center, a non-profit organization that caters to individuals with developmental disabilities, to generate 40 volunteers in just three days for the upcoming event, which will take place Sept. 14 at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area and Sports Park at 160 Yawgoo Valley Road in Exeter.
If 1,000 racers register by July, a second date, tentatively set for Sept. 15, will be added. So far, more than 500 racers signed up as of last week.
Always up for a good challenge, staffers at the Trudeau Center turned to family, friends and community partners, to more than double that number, as 99 people (and counting) have signed up. And while they met the goal, they are still on the hunt for more volunteers.
“We’re not turning anybody away,” said Ed Egan, the development director at Trudeau. “A good number of volunteers came from within Trudeau.”
He also said people from local organizations, as well as banks and church groups, signed up. The more the merrier, as BoldrDash is donating $1 per racer to Trudeau.
Hall, a personal trainer who resides in North Kingstown, founded BoldrDash three years ago after she and a group of friends took part in an intense obstacle course based in Massachusetts. While everyone had fun, they each said they wished Rhode Island had something similar. A few suggested Hall create a local race and she took their advice.
“I said, ‘OK. I will do that,’” she said.
Since then, she’s helped raise nearly $10,000 for select charities and organizations. During the first year, 600 people participated, with funds going toward new uniforms for the middle and high school basketball and soccer teams for North Kingstown Schools, as well as to bus student-athletes to games.
By the second year, 1,200 people took part, raising even more funds for NK Schools, as well as a few other organizations. This year, BoldrDash put together multiple events, including September’s race, plus another that was held in Westerly last month. Funds were donated to the Bring Back the Beach Fund, which is dedicated to help Southern Rhode Island recover from damage caused by tropical storm Sandy. More than 1,200 people completed the course.
“Families go to the beach and we are all about families,” Hall said.
BoldrDash has also supported South Kingstown CARES, a non-profit volunteer organization that supports the SK school district, and the Pathways Strategic Teaching Center, a division of the Trudeau Center that services children with autism and related disorders.
Hall, who worked in social services before becoming a trainer, first teamed up with Pathways shortly after an employee approached her about assisting the organization.
“I always said if there was a way I could give back, I would,” Hall said. “I know that things get tough. Our tagline is ‘Boldly Overcoming Limitations with Determination.’ Every day, you are faced with a challenge. You can do it or walk away and the places we support faces bigger challenges than we do. I visited Pathways and was very impressed with what they did. It’s something I definitely want to support.”
As noted, the course presents runners with obstacles they must complete in order to finish the race. While participants falter at times, many of them run in honor of loved ones.
At a recent race, a parent of a Pathways student froze in the middle of an obstacle.
Seeing her struggle, Hall took her hand and they conquered the task together. The woman told Hall that she promised her daughter she would defeat the course, as her daughter overcomes all kinds of challenges every day.
Another participant shared with Hall a similar story. For more than a decade, she has been caring for her daughter, who was hit by a drunk driver. Her daughter’s doing better now, but she’ll be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
“She said, ‘I’ve got to do something,’” Hall said. “That’s the kind of stuff we’re here for.”
Volunteer hours during the Sept. event begin with registration at 6 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. Volunteer stations include setup, registration, parking lot, start line, finish line, water fillers, information, fruit servers, awards, cleanup, and more. Each volunteer will receive a BoldrDash T-shirt, free lunch, parking, access to the after party, and other perks. Visit the website at boldrdashrace.com to register for the race and contact Egan at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.