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The Warrior Dash is coming to Marion County.
"We describe it as the craziest frickin' day of your life. It's a 5K run from hell, as we call it," said Alex Yount, the media relations director for Red Frog Events, which puts on the obstacle racing series.
The decision to bring the race to Lebanon was finalized last week. Originally, the race had been planned for Elizabethtown, but on April 17, the location was changed to Pope's Creek Ranch, east of Lebanon. The race is scheduled for June 23, and this will be the first Warrior Dash held in Kentucky.
"In our search for different locations, we always try to make it the best location for our participants," Yount said.
The 3.4-mile course includes 14 obstacles that require participants to climb and crawl, ending with the Muddy Mayhem (an 80-foot mud pit that runners must wade through while ducking under barb wire) and the Warrior Roast (two rows of small fires for the runners to jump over).
Lebanon Tourist and Convention Commission Executive Director Nicky Reynolds said the race provides another opportunity to showcase what Lebanon has to offer.
"It's exciting that in addition to the attractions that we're better known for ... we now get the opportunity to show off our outdoor recreation venues," she said.
Unlike a traditional road race, in which the runners start at the same time, Warrior Dash participants tackle the course in groups of up to 500 people every half hour. The first wave of runners will start at 9 a.m. and the final wave is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
As of Monday, more than 2,300 runners were already registered to participate.
Reynolds said the race could bring up to 10,000 visitors to the community, which should help the local economy.
"Not only will our accommodations, shops, restaurants, and attractions be benefiting during the event, but we'll be showing off our incredible array of outdoor beauty to outdoor enthusiasts who will hopefully come back again and again," she said.
David Neville, the general manager for Pope's Creek Ranch, is equally excited about the race's potential. The property belongs to Dr. James Bland.
Neville praised the community and local officials for their help throughout the process. He said Stacy Mattingly, executive director for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, put the Warrior Dash organizers in contact with the tourist commission. From there, Carla Wagner, the commission's administrative assistant, worked to help them get in contact with Neville.
"They do a spectacular job over there," he said.
After their initial contact, Warrior Dash representatives visited the ranch, and Neville credited Marion County Emergency Management Director Hayden Johnson with connecting the race representatives with local emergency personnel. Shortly thereafter, Neville said Red Frog Events was asking about holding the race here.
"It's been unbelievable how nice everybody has been," Neville said.
The race organizers started looking for a new venue when they found out part of the course was in Hardin County where beer sales are prohibited. The Warrior Dash includes a day-long festival with live music, food and beverages (including beer).
Yount added that the focus of the event is on having fun. He said some racers will try to complete the course as fast as possible, but a majority of the participants will be looking to have a good time. Prizes are awarded for the fastest times overall and in various age groups, and for the best beard and best costume.
Yount said participants can help one another with the obstacles, and runners can even skip particular obstacles if they need to (although skipping an obstacle will disqualify them from receiving a time-based award).
The race is also a fund-raiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Parti-cipants can donate to St. Jude, or they can sign-up to become a St. Jude Warrior and pledge to raise $250 for the hospital. Individuals who reach the $250 goal will have access to free food and drinks, private showers and private bag check.
"We've already raised over $1 million for St. Jude this year," Yount said.
For more information about the race, visit warriordash.com. For information about the race June 23 in Lebanon, go to http://www.warriordash.com/register2012_kentucky.php#.
Online, participants can find what to bring with them, but Yount offered one tip.
"A good attitude is always a plus when going to a Warrior Dash," he said.