Getting Muddy at Kiddyhawk Obstacle Race
By: Sheryl Levene, ellaslist explorer
You can only imagine the delight on the faces of my two sons, aged eight and ten, when we told them that we were taking them to do an obstacle course and they could get as dirty as they like!
We were on our way to Gosford Entertainment Grounds to take part in the KiddyHawk challenge, a muddy 1 km obstacle course aimed at kids aged 3 – 13. KiddyHawk is part of Operation BlackHawk, a 7km course for adults with 40 obstacles to conquer.
Going to Battle
The kids were dressed in their oldest clothes and here’s a tip for parents: make sure to wear your oldest clothes too! On arrival the kids were given camouflage paint for their faces and with their battle stripes on, Greg, the commander of the troop took all the kids through warm up exercises including sit ups, push ups and burpees. With mock ferociousness, Greg got even the most reluctant kids to join in. I was even tempted to do a star jump or two!
Jumping in the Mud
Once the kids were all warmed up, they were taken onto the muddy field. Any initial squeamishness was quickly overcome when the kids were made to leopard crawl across the mud to the main track. The obstacle course is done in short sprints with one obstacle to overcome at a time. This means that racing is taken out of the equation as no child gets left behind and there is no possibility of losing.
Scaling the first Obstacle
The first obstacle course was a wooden wall made up of two heights. The aim was to run up to the wall, hoist yourself over and sprint to the other side of the strip.
All about Teamwork
KiddyHawk puts a big emphasis on cooperation and the bigger kids were encouraged to help the younger ones who were struggling over the wall. This spirit of camaraderie continues throughout the course. As a mum to two boys, who can argue over the smallest things (who got more rice… really?!), I appreciated the values this promotes.
The next obstacle was a low fence with ‘real’ barbed wire that the kids had to crawl under. There was also another angled wall to climb over and a balance beam. Once all the stationary obstacles had been mastered by every child, it was time to move on to the mud!
Be warned, when they say the kids will get dirty, they sure aren’t kidding!
Mud! Mud! Glorious Mud!
The kids crawled through a muddy trench, squelched through knee deep puddles and jumped up and down so much in the wet that even Peppa Pig would have been jealous.
The Adult Version – Battlefield Challenge
While the kids were covering themselves head to toe in good old-fashioned dirt, I meandered across the field to check out what the adults were up to. All participants of Battlefield Challenge are given military fatigues to wear and then they get as dirty as the kids. Most of the obstacles looked similar to the kids’ versions with things to climb over, under and through. As with KiddyHawk the emphasis seems to be on team building and despite the grueling challenges, almost all the participants were smiling and having lots of fun.
Run Parents Run!
I returned to the kid’s section just in time to hear Greg tell the kids that it was time for them to give their mums and dads a cuddle. Now it was time for the parents to bolt as we saw a herd of grubby hands coming towards us. Kids love a bit of payback!
We did it!
After a final go at splashing in the mud and a last run through the obstacle course, all the kids were presented with a dog tag type medal.
The queue for a shower was pretty long but it was well worth the wait. We were so happy we had remembered to pack towels, spare clothing and plastic bags for the trip but next time we would add a bar of soap and baby wipes to this list to get off the stubborn stuff.
We headed back to Sydney tired, grubby and happy.