On your mark, get set, get messy
A new 5K run scheduled for late August is not your typical road race.
The runners will go over hurdles, climb hay bales, crawl through tunnels, negotiate a “sea of tires” and crawl through a mud pit.
The Car-X Crazy K also is not your average fundraiser. The goal is to raise $80,000, to be distributed among eight local charities.
“There’s nothing like it around here, so it will be unique,” said Parham Parastaran, owner of the local Car-X businesses and organizer of the 5K race.
Parastaran said he’d been wanting to find a way to organize some type of event that would raise a lot of money for charity. Last summer, he gave a ride to a friend who had just participated in a Warrior Dash — extreme races held all over the country in which runners climb over barricades, leap over fire and crawl over cargo nets.
Everyone was in costume and covered with mud. Parastaran was intrigued and began to think about putting on such an event here. He said his goal, in addition to raising a lot of money for charity, is to offer a good race and a community event with an outdoor party atmosphere.
“I want everyone to leave and say, ‘That’s really cool,’” he said.
The event will include food for runners and spectators and live music.
The race will start and finish at the Champaign County Fairgrounds, and it will run through Crystal Lake Park as well. Two longtime friends of Parastaran — Adam LeGrande and Bob Schimmel — designed the course. You could say it’s Warrior Dash Lite.
“The first year, we didn’t want to make the obstacles superhard,” LeGrande said. “We wanted an element of challenge but an element of fun too. We didn’t want it so difficult that the average person would be scared away.”
Parastaran noted children age 10 and up can run the course, while those 9 and under can compete on a shorter course (less than a mile) with fewer obstacles.
The obstacles on the main course include water, mud, hurdles, hay bales, tunnels, foam and tires. By the end, “you’ll be very muddy and foamy,” Schimmel said. He works for Farm Credit Services of Illinois, and his contact with farmers has come in handy to get hay bales and the plastic tunnels, 3 feet in diameter and 20 feet long.
The goal is to get 2,000 runners for the event, which will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 27. Runners will start in waves, with up to 200 runners starting every half-hour.
“We can’t just send everybody off at once and have a wall of people hitting that first obstacle,” LeGrande said.
Runners can participate as individuals or members of a 10-person team. Most of those signed up so far are on a team, Parastaran said.
There are cash prizes for the top teams and individuals, and gift cards to the top high school competitors.
Runners are encouraged to wear costumes, with $250 going to the person with the best costume.
Spectators pay $20 to get in to watch the race, eat and listen to music. The postrace party will be from 5 to 10 p.m.
Parastaran is paying for the marketing of the race himself. The entry fees for racers and spectators will cover the cost of putting it on, then all proceeds after that will go to the charities.
One of the most difficult parts of organizing the event has been picking the charities, Parastaran said.
He chose eight with which he has had some connection. He said they had to be local, and he wanted to provide a large enough donation to have an immediate impact for each group.
But he regrets not being able to include more. Next year, he wants to open the race to any charity and allow each runner to designate where his or her entry fee will go, “so it’s everybody’s event.”
The Car-X Crazy K will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Champaign County Fairgrounds, with a postrace party from 5 to 10 p.m.
The event benefits the following organizations: Crisis Nursery, Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club, Developmental Services Center, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County, Junior League of Champaign-Urbana, Larkin’s Place at the Y and the Mills Breast Cancer Institute.
For more information, go to http://carxcrazyk.com/.
Photo, above, is Parham Parastaran at the Champaign County Fairgrounds. Photo by John Dixon.