Bouncy run entices thrill seekers

The Insane Inflatable 5K race Saturday at the Fairplex featured several inflatable obstacle courses. Participants started the course climbing inflatable stairs and then sliding down to begin the 3-mile race. Other inflatables included “wrecking balls.” Funds raised through runners’ donations benefit the Special Olympics Southern California. / photo by Sara Flores
The Insane Inflatable 5K race Saturday at the Fairplex featured several inflatable obstacle courses. Participants started the course climbing inflatable stairs and then sliding down to begin the 3-mile race. Other inflatables included “wrecking balls.” Funds raised through runners’ donations benefit the Special Olympics Southern California. / photo by Sara Flores

Melissa Gasia
Assistant Editor

Runners climbed, bounced, jumped and slid through 11 giant inflatable obstacles throughout the course at the Insane Inflatable 5K Fun Run Saturday at the Fairplex in Pomona.

“It’s about adults being kids for a day,” event director Kane Rowell said.

“It’s a great event for people to come out, have a good time and raise money for a good cause.”

Proceeds went to their designated charity partner, Special Olympics Southern California.

The SOSC offers programs and competitions for intellectually disabled children and adults providing them opportunities with year-round training.

“It’s not a race or competition,” development manager at SOSC Brandon Adachi said.

“It’s for fun, but you get exercise and you don’t have to feel like you’ve got to be serious.”

The fun run was open to all ages of all skill levels, but runners had to at least be 42 inches tall.

It was not timed, so it did not matter if they chose to run or walk the whole course.

“Anybody could do it,” Glendora resident Hope Parker said.

“You see people of all different sizes and shapes.”

Creating a team was also encouraged.

A lot of families and friends wore uniformed attires such as a shirts with their logo or motto, superhero outfits or colorful tutu skirts.

Once the announcer gave participants the go signal at the starting line, everyone rushed through the inflatable stairs and slid down as they started their course.

“It wasn’t just running, it was running with a twist,” Pasadena resident Justin Duncan said.

“Good exercise for a good cause and much better than watching TV at home.”

Every 30 minutes, a new wave of runners arrived at the starting point.

The inflatable obstacles on the way involved a large mattress with several holes to fit their ankles and steep slides.

“They were actually a little challenging and it didn’t hurt when you got a little silly but it made it more enjoyable,” Duncan said.

The popular inflatables were the giant balls also known as the wrecking balls, which were pushed against each participant while they were running, climbing and sliding down the hills.

“We did those big balls over and over again because they were so much fun,” Parker said.

“With this one, you could do it over as many times as you want to so that’s what we did.”

The course started and ended in the parking lot of Fairplex.

The last inflatable called Vertigo was a five and a half story high slide.

For those who came in later, there was a wait time of about 10 to 15 minutes to do the last slide.

It is apparently one of the tallest and steepest slides in the industry.

Once one reached the top and looked down, it would take some courage to make it down.

At the end the slide was the finish line.

Volunteers were waiting to hang medals around the participant’s neck.

Participants also received a free shirt and had more water and some bananas served.

“It’s kind of a rewarding feeling that when you get that medal you just completed a 5K,” Rowell said.

“For some of our participants, that’s more than they’ve ever done so it’s a token of their hard work.”

Melissa Gasia can be reached at melissa.gasia@laverne.edu.

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