Students and community members bundled up for sub-zero temperatures Saturday to take part in Mount Pleasant’s first Freakin’ Freezing Challenge.
More than 300 people registered for the 5k obstacle course spanning the city’s park system that included obstacles such as an icy pit, an army crawl, a creek jump, a forceful wind tunnel and iced-over cars to climb over.
“It’s a fun run, so there are no times or anything. It’s just for a good time,” said Chris Rowley, executive director at the Mount Pleasant Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
The idea stemmed from Mount Pleasant’s CVB plan to create a unique event that would draw visitors into the city during winter.
“It’s just for fun and to get physically active in the winter months when everything slows down,” Rowley said.
Rowley said the rising popularity of another popular nationwide event, Warrior Dashes, sparked the idea for the Freakin’ Freezing Challenge.
“It’s like the Warrior Dashes with all the obstacles, but it’s in the winter time, which has never been done before,” Rowley said. “We’re hoping to make it an annual event and to expand it in the years to come.”
Central Michigan University students were among the more than 300 in attendance.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time, and, hey, they promised free beer at the end,” Grand Blanc senior Laura Eickhoff said.
Not everyone was enthusiastic to participate. Canton senior Justin Congdon said he did not want to take part initially.
“My friends made me,” he said.
It wasn’t just all fun and games. CVB used the event as a springboard to give back to the community.
Rowley said a portion of the registration fees for each team or person are going back into the park systems. In addition to the event, there was also a high-carb dinner Friday to help participants beef up and prepare for the race that benefited the Humane Animal Treatment Society of Mount Pleasant.
The after party at Mountain Town Station benefitted the Mount Pleasant Jaycees, and there was also a coat drive at the event that benefitted the American Red Cross.