Get muddy for a good cause


By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

A runner in last years Heroes for Heroes 5K race plows through a muddy obstacle.

Those who have competed in the Heroes for Heroes 5K challenge know from experience this race is far from ordinary.

Although it features a typical 5K length, this obstacle team challenge is atypical in just about every other way.

Competitors will gather Sept. 10 at Civic Park in Reynoldsburg to try to navigate a challenging course that includes 11 obstacles, ranging from wall climbs, tire flips and ditch crossings, to building a giant Jenga.

Ask any of the competitors, organizer Bailey Sparks said, and they’ll say the challenge is worth the struggle. Not only does the annual event honor heroes, all money raised will go to Hope for the Warriors, a national non-profit organization dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for veterans, service members and military families.

Sparks, who serves as command and staff administrative assistant with the Reynoldsburg Police Department, said multiple teams representing the police department, Truro Township Fire Department, city of Reynoldsburg and Reynoldsburg Schools have signed up to participate.
“The best thing about the Heroes for Heroes 5K obstacle course is that anyone can participate,” Sparks said.

The course will be as challenging as participants want to make it, she said.

“Registration is open to kids and adults, so if your 9-year-old can’t go over a wall, they get to do an extra task obtainable to their skill level to move on,” Sparks said. “The important thing is we are all supporting a great cause together, whether we are running or walking the course.”

Although several teams have signed up, individuals are welcome to compete as well.
“We have made a few adjustments to the course to accommodate someone who wants to challenge themselves,” Sparks said. “You can also have a team ranging from two to four people.”

As service providers themselves, Sparks and the event’s organizers chose Hope for the Warriors because of the non-profit organization’s focus on supporting military members and their families.

“There is a need for more support for our veterans, active duty and public service members,” Sparks said. “Being that we ourselves are serving the public, we thought what better way than support an organization whose focus is helping those military members and public service members, along with their families.”

Organizers are searching for additional local sponsors to help offset the costs of the event so that a majority of the proceeds may be donated to Hope for the Warriors.

“Hope for the Warriors has grown to a nationwide organization and has helped many people in the central Ohio area,” Sparks said.

Military families who witnessed the effects of war on their families and communities founded Hope for the Warriors in 2006 on Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
The organization has provided several programs to help soldiers and their families, as well as families of the fallen, who have served since 9/11. Since its inception, the organization has served more than 13,000 through programs that have focused on transition, clinical health and wellness, sports and recreation, and community engagement, development and awareness.

“Today we couldn’t continue to assist the number of service members, veterans and military families that we do without the continued support of community events like Heroes for Heroes,” said Robin Kelleher, president and CEO of Hope for the Warriors. “Not only are these events financially benefiting our programs, but they also bring awareness and support to the men and women who have sacrificed so much through their service.”

The Heroes for Heroes 5K Obstacle Course challenge will kick off at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 10 The first-, second- and third-place finishers will receive awards. To register, go to

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