Extreme obstacle race coming to town

Atlas Race expecting a field of 3,000 competitors
A competitor works his way through an obstacle course. The Atlas Race will come to Gold Hill on Sept. 28.

Lance Landers and the extreme sports business he works for saw a need for something other than the road races that are common in the Rogue Valley.

Their alternative? A blood-pumping competition in Gold Hill with 25 obstacles.

"This is exactly what Medford needs," Landers said.

The Atlas Race, which will stretch between three to four miles at Estremado Ranch, is set for Sept. 28. As of Aug. 13, 900 athletes had already registered for the event, said Landers, the VP of Operations. He expects a total field of around 3,000.

The contest is part of a racing series that includes an elite division and open division. The top level offers over $50,000 in cash prizes, including $5,000 for the individual male and female winners and $5,000 for the quickest team. The open division is just for fun and teams can be bigger.

The race is normally held in larger cities, Landers said.

"To get this caliber of a race right here in the valley is big," he said.

The contest includes getting past the gorilla bars — which are monkey bars set at an incline for about 25 feet — climbing tall objects, doing a barbed wire crawl and flying down a slippery slide that extends about half the length of a football field.

Those who fall during their gorilla bar attempt will land in a pool of mud. Plus they'll have to do 30 burpees, Landers said.

Sound hard? The company insists that anybody can do it.

"It is a super fun chance to come out and be a kid again," Landers said. "Some people will take 30 minutes and other people three hours."

The gap between obstacles will be as brief as 1/10th of a mile, Landers said. The distance in between will be on hilly, muddy terrain.

The race almost didn't come to the Rogue Valley, Landers said. But after some discussion, he and his business associates realized it would be just as popular here as in Seattle, where it was headed.

"We want to make this an annual event," Landers said. "We want it to be the annual series finale for next year."

Those who are interested can join a free training group that meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Twin Creeks Park.

For more information, visit atlasrace.com or facebook.com/atlasrace.

The cost could be as low as $65 by using codes on facebook, Landers said.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com

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