Jonathan Doyle had just one goal at this year’s Snow Warriors 5K obstacle course run.
The 27-year-old Bend resident was not out to set a course record, place in the top 10, or even best his pal Caleb Hicks, whom he entered the race with. No, Doyle’s main objective was much simpler.
“I just wanted to beat that (freaking) penguin,” he said.
Approximately 220 adventurers — many dressed in costume — came out for Sunday’s Snow Warriors run, staged at the Old Mill District as part of the 2014 Oregon WinterFest. Competitors braved four waist-deep water crossings, multiple hay bale hurdles, a snow hill runup and slidedown, fire pits, and a military barrier wall while making their way twice around the 2.5K loop course.
“It was way tougher than I thought it would be,” said Bend’s Nolan King, 20, the race’s overall winner.
Based on feedback from last year’s event, race director Cynthia Evans said this year’s Snow Warriors course was intended to be more challenging.
“People wanted more mud and more wood,” Evans said, “So that’s what we did.”
The course started near WinterFest’s snow ramps on the west side of Shevlin Hixon Drive with racers climbing and descending a large snow bank. A double-water crossing on Deschtues Brewery’s property began thinning out the crowd, as did the military wall about one-third of the way along the course.
‘You didn’t want to get stuck in the back,” said 34-year-old Mindy Blair, of Talent, who dressed as Wonder Womand won the women’s race for the second straight year. “This was a lot harder this year. The water, at least on me, came up to my waist.”
Chasing Wonder Woman for most of the race were a pair of basketball officials, the aforementioned penguin, a viking, Buzz and Woody from Toy Story fame, several escaped convicts and a small dragon that was able to convince a brave knight to carry her across the last water obstacle.
“This is for those people that aren’t necessarily racers but runners,” Evans said. “It’s fun to get out here with a bunch of friends and release your inner 8-year-old.”
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