This past weekend Brian and I participated in the Insane Inflatable 5k with 4 first time 5ker’s! My best friend had contacted me a while ago after she saw an ad for the Insane Inflatable 5k online and thought the obstacles looked fun enough for her to give a 5k a try.
Everyone, this is what fun runs are all about! It gets people that would otherwise be on the couch to do something active and healthy. This, in my opinion, is why we need to support these events instead of putting them down. With fun obstacles and multiple wave times, it gives first timers the confidence to give it a try without feeling like they will “come in last” or not be athletic or fast enough (since it’s untimed.) The feeling of accomplishment after crossing the finish line is addicting, leading to more serious and difficult races - and a runner is born.
OK, fun run PSA over… Let’s rewind and start from the beginning of the event.
We decided to do the race in Atlantic City in the middle of August, which of course ended up being one of the hottest days of the year. Arriving at the event location was one of the easiest we have ever encountered; our car was parked so close to the starting line that we didn’t even need to take advantage of the free bag check.
Our team of 6 was aptly name “We Run for Wine” and had matching T-Shirts and socks for the girls to go along with this theme. (By the way, if you ever need a women's custom race tank top, the shirt guy is the way to go.)
Registration went quickly and before we knew it we were at the starting line waiting for our 11AM wave to start. The starting line itself was actually an obstacle, we had a short climb up an inflatable and a slide down. Since we lined up in the back of the wave, we had about a 5 second wait to climb the obstacle. This, my friends, would be the longest we would ever have to wait for an obstacle. BRAVO Insane Inflatable 5k, BRAVO.
|The inflatable starting line|
When it was my turn to slide down the starting line, I quickly realized that wearing shorts in 95 degrees and having my bare skin touch the obstacles was not a good idea at all. It makes sliding extremely difficult… I bounced down the slide, hard enough where my sunglasses flew off, for blooper number 1; the first of many many bloopers which would happen throughout the race.
As team captain I had given a pep talk to everyone telling them we would jog to the first obstacle after the starting line and then play it by ear from there. Unfortunately for me, the first obstacle was only about a 10th of a mile from the starting line, the mattress run. Here is where we had our first official fall, as my friend misjudged the holes in the mattress and face planted.
After a good laugh, the third obstacle was in front of us, a moon bounce on steroids called levels. This wasn’t any old bouncy house, it was literally all different height levels to bounce around. When someone was bouncing near you, it was way harder than you would think to stay upright. This is where that same friend has one of the most epic obstacle fails that probably exists. Luckily, it happened right in front of the GoPro camera, and she is a good sport and is allowing me to share this.
Our Insane Inflatable 5k Gopro
obstacle video blooper reel, enjoy!
After Levels the heat started getting to everyone a bit, so we employed the run walk method for the rest of the event to help our first time runners.
We reached the big ball obstacle, which wasn’t as fun as we had hoped, because the balls were just a little too big to hoist at anyone. After a short jog, we got to tangled up, which was a good time. I tried to get over the top tangle at first, leading to another fail and more laughs.
No longer tangled up, we arrived at the first water station which was needed more than usual being that we felt like we were running through the Sahara dessert. We then walked to what was ironically the most fun obstacle on the course, pure misery.
We had to climb up and then slide down the inflatable twice, and we timed it so that 4 our of 6 of us could slide down at the same time. After a minor friend collision on the second slide down, we were pumped and ready for the next obstacle, wrecking balls.
|Wrecking balls - excuse my awkwardly placed legs in this photo...|
I believe the point of wrecking balls is to hit as many of your team mates as possible with the giant inflatable swinging balls. If not, it really should be. We laughed our way all through that then did a little jogging in the grassy field until we got to S.O.S...
S.O.S was perfectly named, as there were more slide options to choice from and the hot inflatable combined with my bare skin had me screaming help by the end of it. I even tried to avoid making skin contact by sliding on my back, which horribly backfired as my shirt lifted up and I scraped my way down the slide ever so gracefully.
Right after SOS was our next savior from the heat, water station 2. They even got fancy with it and offered some Snapple in addition to the water.
By now my first time 5ker's were really feeling the heat since they weren't used to running in it, so we took the long stretch to the next obstacle slow, finally arriving at Bumpin Bumpin, where the Gopro video stopped. Bumpin Bumpin (another climb up slide down inflatable) was probably the least memorable obstacle on the course, but luckily it was immediately followed by jump around, which was a bounce house on super steroids, almost making the first bouncy house we encountered look like child's play (pun intended.)
By now we were seasoned pros on bouncy houses, so we had some fun with it, and here's where my other friend got a little too excited and launched off the edge of the obstacle. She was fine except for a grassy ass, so we moved on and I encouraged them to jog to the inflatable finish line, which was the tallest inflatable slide on the course.
|Another awkward finish line photo|
The finish was bittersweet as I was having a blast and wished there were more inflatable obstacles to tackle.
The bling consisted of a T-shirt and a really cute finisher medal, and we got bananas, kind bars, and water or snapple at the finish, which is more than I usually receive at these types of events.
|T-shirt and finisher medal|
Afterwards we got a finisher photo with my Iphone and headed on our way to fulfill the "We Run For Wine” portion of the day.
|Team "We Run for Wine"|
My one minor gripe is the lack of photographers on the course. Sure, it's an awesome bonus that the photos are free, but does that really matter if there is no one to take the photos? We ended up seeing 2 photographers total, and they were placed in such a way where we didn't see them until after we had already exited the obstacle (hence the awkward photos of me above.)
Also, for future summer events, they may want to think about wetting the slide a bit as we kept getting stuck with our sweaty skin on the hot inflatable, but maybe this is an insurance issue?
Final outcome - I highly recommend this event to anyone with children, anyone wanting to run their first 5k in a non-threatening environment, or just for an overall great time with friends.