A cool new take on obstacle racing

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Lynn Greene | January 20, 2017

It's nontraditional, it's tough fun and on Saturday, Jan. 28, it's coming to Lake Geneva for the first year. The Abominable Snow Race will test competitors with new obstacles and a new course. After last year's successful race —1,180 entrants — in Crystal Lake, Illinois, the race moves to the Grand Geneva Resort.

Obstacle course racing like The Tough Mudder, The Color Run and The Spartan Race have attracted more competitors than marathons, according to Running USA.

Some trace the popularity of these obstacle course races to the Tough Guy Race, held for the first time in 1987 in the United Kingdom. Since then, OCR has entered the mainstream and includes men, women and special races for kids.

Dan Longhent of Chicago has completed more than a dozen such races  during the last eight years.

“A group of us got together for the Mudder and that's what started it for me,” Longhent said. “It's being outdoors, being physical, having some friendly competition — getting bragging rights.”

Get ready for the winter equivalent of these popular races. The Abominable Snow Race is expected to attract more than 2,000 participants this year.

The course is 4.4 miles with more than 20 obstacles, including the Winter Weaver, a military-style obstacle that requires the racer to weave over and under a series of bars without touching the ground. Touch the ground and you have to do it all over again or do a certain number of burpees.

“You have to be strategic with some of the obstacles,” Longhent said. “Sometimes it's faster to take the punishment (the burpees). The cold and the snow definitely add another dimension.”

This is the only winter obstacle course of its kind in this area, according to Bill Wolfe, race director and course designer for Abominable Snow Race events.

Racers of all ages will participate, from individual elite racers to local military, police, firefighters and first responders. Individuals and teams will compete, and youngsters ages 4 to 11 will have their own Lil Yeti course.

After the race, live music from Future Stuff will be heard from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Plus, food and drink will be enjoyed by the fire pit or in the Yeti Lodge.

Online registration closes at midnight Jan. 25. Register at AbominableSnowRace.com.


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