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Copyright 2013 The Columbus Dispatch
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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
October 27, 2013 Sunday
NEWS; Pg. 5B
405 words
Recreation; Obstacle course debuts to whews;
Demanding stations at Scioto Audubon Metro Park earn many thumbs up
Joe Vardon, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

With the tires flipped, monkey bars crossed and his jeans muddy, David Zid offered perhaps the first official assessment of the new Columbus Rotary Obstacle Course at Scioto Audubon Metro Park.

"I'm a fitness instructor, and it kicked my ass," said Zid, 47, the first to cross the finish line at yesterday's grand opening.

Zid was among more than 30 people who braved cold and slop to crawl on their bellies, scale walls and tiptoe along a slippery balance beam on the half-mile obstacle course on the Whittier Peninsula near Downtown.

The free course opened after more than two years of delays complicated by state funding cuts to the Metro Parks. The Rotary revived the project, and its members kicked in $100,000 worth of material, labor and money to build the nine- station course.

"It took a little bit of effort to make people understand that we needed to do more than just give money to make it happen," said Rotary President Steve Heiser.

Metro Parks Executive Director John O'Meara wanted an obstacle course at Scioto Audubon to attract young professionals who live and work Downtown.

Rotarian Tom Carlisi was in O'Meara's office in June 2012 when he learned about the project and suggested that the club might help.

The Rotary's first offer was to help with signage.

"I said, 'That's great, but there won't be anything to put the signs around,' " O'Meara said.

In August, Rotary members and Smoot Construction, Kurtz Bros., State Tire & Service and Messer Construction agreed to donate materials and workers so the course could open on the Rotary's target date -- Make a Difference national volunteers day, which was yesterday.

"You look out and it's like a bunch of pieces of adult playground equipment," O'Meara said.

One piece has yet to be added: a cargo-net station, which will provide another degree of difficulty to a course already being compared with CrossFit and Tough Mudder venues.

"This is totally going to be a really popular spot for people to come," said Kim Martin, 27, a Metro Parks employee who was a little out of breath after finishing the course in about 4 minutes, 30 seconds.

"Awesome and exhausting," added Karin Redelberger, 41, who competed for Columbus 2020, an economic-development organization.

"Once they put that cargo net in there, it will be very similar to a Marine obstacle course," said Daniel Avery, 20, a junior at Ohio State University in the Navy ROTC program.

jvardon@dispatch.com

@joevardon

Photo and Map
FRED SQUILLANTE / DISPATCH PHOTOS (1) Karin Redelberger, 41, of the Columbus 2020 team traverses the monkey bars at the new Columbus Rotary Obstacle Course. "Amazing and exhausting," she concluded after conquering all eight stations. A ninth obstacle -- a cargo-net crawl -- will be added later. (2) A competitor tries to keep it together on the balance beam in the team challenge, which began immediately after the grand opening yesterday. The free course opened after more than two years of delays complicated by state funding cuts to the Metro Parks.
October 27, 2013

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