The Awesome Mitten - Rock the World

Day 357: Rock the World Race and Music Festival

The Awesome Mitten - Rock the World
Photo courtesy of Rock the World.

I was a little skeptical of the Rock the World Race and Music Festival at first, that is until I heard the words “190 foot slip and slide,” followed quickly by “World record slip and slide attempt.”

This, of course, is in addition to what will be surely be an awesome weekend of obstacle racing, music, food and beer.  You can expect all of this (and maybe more) at Rock the World in Fitzgerald Park, Grand Ledge from June 30 through July 1.

Matt Dykstra, founder of Rock the World, sees his event as more than just the exploding popularity of adventure and obstacle racing. “We wanted to give people a fun way to get active and we wanted a fun, safe environment to bring the family to,” he said.

In addition to the trail run itself, the 5k (3.1 mile) obstacle race is made up of 12 obstacles from around the world. For example:

•    The Mighty Mac – Walk along the main cable from tower to tower over the mud below

•    The Amazon Jungle – Bushwhack a trail through the largest rainforest on earth. No paths, only obstruction and chaos

•    The Eiffel Tower – Climb up a 14 foot tall sloping cargo net tower and back down the other side

•    The Swiss Alps – Crawl across the sloping cargo nets suspended from high in the trees

The Awesome Mitten - Rock the World
Photo courtesy of Rock the World

Each obstacle was designed to be challenging and fun, but not so challenging that they become inaccessible for the participants.  Each obstacle can be avoided, but by doing so, racers forfeit their chance to place in the race.

Distances between structures vary from 50 feet to .75 miles and all of the obstacles are built above ground, making Rock the World more mobile and reducing the impact on the park.

There will be six local bands performing over the weekend, with Starfarm on Saturday and Global Village on Sunday. Local food and drink will be available throughout the day.  Prizes and give aways will be happening constantly, as well as contests for team participation and best costume.

Another goal of Rock the World is to draw attention to two worthy charities: Ele’s Place, a Lansing area healing center for grieving children and Medals for Mettle, a group that provides medals and encouragement for those battling debilitating disease.

The Awesome Mitten - Rock the World
Photo courtesy of Rock the World

Finally, the world record slip and slide attempt.  Currently held by the University of Oregon, the record stands at a total of 82,080 feet in one hour and was completed on a 30 foot slide.  Rock the World looks to smash that record on June 30, starting at 7 p.m.  The slip and slide itself is 190 feet long, and at that distance, over 400 people will have to skim to the bottom in the one hour time span.

Ultimately, this is an event you don’t want to miss.  There’s plenty of room for everyone at the park (and in the Guinness Book).

In fact, this author is so impressed and intrigued by Dykstra’s creation that I have decided to run the race myself (thus coming out of a long retirement from exercising) and try my best to do Team Awesome  proud.

For more information on Rock the World, you can like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, check out their YouTube channel or register for the event.

~Nathan Smathers, Feature Writer

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