BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It was just about as perfect a day as you can get to run a 5k, climb through a bouncy house, navigate some tires and a rope course, and carry a log or two.
And just to top it all off, hit a slip and slide.
More than one hundred runners came out to Rodeo Park on Saturday morning as part of Fort Madison’s Mayhem on the Mississippi. The event was moved from Riverview Park to Rodeo after another event had already been scheduled at that location.
The 2nd annual run sent competitors around the Rodeo arena and through Rodeo Park on a three mile trek that featured a little more than just your typical Saturday competitive run. After about the first 300 yards, an inflatable obstacle was put in the path. Runners then wound their way through the park’s trails north and then east along the road to the airport, stepping through tires and then weaving up and down through a rope covered bridge on the path.
On the west side of the park, runners encountered a few hills and had to grab a log and carry it for a while before coming back up on the west side of the arena, down the parking lot to the east entrance, and then across the finish line onto a tarp coated with water and baby oil.
Alfonso Arevalo, owner of Fort Madison’s Rev Fitness, was the first one across the line at 24:57. It was his first time running the event and said the challenges along the path made the run interesting.
“It was fun. It was a good time,” Arevalo said. “You had to slow down and then restart again, so it added to the challenge.”
He also said he’s hoping next year’s turnout is even better because the event is very engaging.
Amanda Gilpin, 15, led the girls contingent with a time of 25:17.
Kyle Riegel of Waterloo said the cost of the event is much lower than other challenge races, and it was a nice change from some of the more muddy events.
“It’s pretty good,” he said. “It’s a lot drier, which is actually kind of nice. There wasn’t any water on the run so I was pretty thirsty. But it was a fun one to do. The other ones we go to, like Minneapolis, we take the whole weekend and go, but we have family down here so it’s nice to come down.”
Cassie Gilbert, Fort Madison Main Street Coordinator, said numbers were down a bit from last year, but the location worked out very well.
“Yeah, it’s a new location. We were kinda worried about how it would work out,” Gilbert said. People liked having it down on the riverfront, but we couldn’t do that this year.”
She said the group will now reach out to the competitors and see what, if any, changes could be made for future events.
“We’re going to reach out to them on Facebook and see what changes they would like. But if they like it, we can keep it out here because it works really well on the route.”
The top three men after Arevalo were Isaac Holland – 26:30, Andrew Wiese – 26:37, and Joshua Baker 26:53. Of the women after Gilpin were Jamie Hocker 26:50, Allison Arevalo 29:16, and Amanda Older 28:25.
Gilbert said all other runner times will be posted on Monday morning.
Corporate Sponsors included Climax Molybdenum, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, and Fehseke & Gray Law Offices as well as Jogger Sponsors Edward Jones: Larry Kelch, Anytime Fitness, Pinnacle Foods, Farm Bureau Insurance: Larry Holtkamp and Fareway.
After the event, the festivities moved downtown where 10 barbecue specialists put on a show at the Main Street BBQ hosted by Faeth’s Cigar Shop at 9th and Avenue G. Visitors were allowed to sample barbecued pork, chicken, beef, and other meats as well as vote on the best barbecue sauce at the event.
People from all over the area came to the downtown following the warm, tangy smells of barbecue and smoke to sample some of the best outdoor recipes in the area.
Proceeds from all the events go to help programming for the Fort Madison Main Street organization.