ROC Race: Ridiculously Awesome

There are those who watch obstacle-course reality show Wipeout and think, “These people are nuts.” Then there are those who stare intensely at their TV screens, hearts pounding, as they throw up their arms and scream, “These people are NUTS! Where do I sign up?!”

If you happen to fall in the latter group, there's an event just for you coming to the Great Park. ROC Race, which stands for Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge, is a 5K filled with insane, game show-inspired obstacles (four words, folks: world's largest moon bounce). It's for the crazy kid at heart—that friend who has a law degree and a mortgage yet still believes no party is complete without a Slip 'N Slide and someone yelling, “Cannonball!”

“A lot of us grew up in the '80s and '90s, with Double Dare and American Gladiators, so we knew this would be big,” says Keith Cunningham, vice president of VaVi Sport & Social Club, the San Diego-based group that created the epic race in 2011. “The energy is off the charts.”

At ROC Race, runners complete 12 thrilling obstacles such as the Tarzan Swing (basically, grab a rope and hold on for dear life), Cool Runnings (hop on an innertube, throw yourself down an inflatable slide and crash into a pool) and Belly Flop Drop (don't think about it—just say a prayer and go). The signature obstacle, according to Cunningham, is the Wrecking Ball. Just as in American Gladiators, participants must maneuver their way across rotating balance beams as a giant ball tries to whack them into a pool of water. In the end, runners don't merely step past the finish line—they slide across it as they go down the World's Largest Inflatable Slide. Post-race, the party continues with a beer garden, food and live music.

ROC Race is untimed, and anyone older than 13 can participate. The morning slots are full, but you can still run in the afternoon. Sign up as an individual, or bring your craziest friends to form a team.

Follow me on Twitter: @michellewoo.


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