Obstacle Course and 5K to Challenge Kodiak to be Active and Aware

The inverted wall obstacle at Challenge the Rock. Courtesy of Challenge the Rock organizers
The inverted wall obstacle at Challenge the Rock. Photo by Lauren Humphrey

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

An upcoming 5k and obstacle course will challenge community members to be upstanders instead of bystanders. Those of the words of one organizer, Lauren Humphreys, from the Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center, who says the event is in observation of National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Challenge the Rock will engage community members in feats of strength, speed, and endurance, and raise awareness at the same time.

Humphrey says event volunteers will bus the athletes up to the top of Pillar Mountain and participants will go through obstacles on their along the course and down the mountain. And while it’s competitive, it’s more about challenging yourself than others.

“We’re not timing, we’re not doing first, second, third, fourth place. The concept is to work together because there’s a couple of obstacles that theoretically you would not be able to do for yourself, so we’re having waves of 15 people, and the concept is to help everyone finish.”

Sarah Lind, a victim’s advocate at the Sun’aq Tribal Office, says she and Humphrey have worked together before to spread awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence.

“And the last couple of years, Lauren has hosted a 5k event, and last year we got such an amazing turnout that we decided to partner with KANA to see if we couldn’t make an event that’s just over the top that would be amazing and possibly including more participants.”

One of the obstacles thrown into the mix is an inverted wall. Another is a wrist-carry, which has origins in Alaska Native culture. Lind describes it as a test of strength. She says two people hold the ends of a long wooden rod while a third person hooks their arms around the pole and hangs from it. She says people have been challenging themselves with this practice for generations.

“In a way to strengthen themselves, but also in a way to show the story of hunting. When you hunt, you put your game on a dowel or long piece of wood and carry it back to your village. They did this not only to strengthen the hunters, but also as a way to admire the animal for giving its life. As a way to say thank you.”

Humphrey and Lind say participants should meet at the gravel pit on the way up Pillar Mountain, and the event will begin at around 11:15 a.m. They say the Kodiak Police Department will also hold a barbecue, which starts up at about 11 a.m., and it’s free and open to the public.

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