PLATTSBURGH — “Mud and flames” led Baltimore resident James King to travel to and compete in the third annual Rockeater Adventure Race Saturday.
King was one of 763 runners who registered to compete in the event, up from 650 in 2012. The 5K (3.1 mile) marathon saw participants race along the Plattsburgh Municipal Beach before taking to the forest along the Heritage Trail and circling back to finish at the Crete Memorial Civic Center.
King had competed in the 2012 Rockeater race, the first marathon he had run since high school, and said the variety of obstacles along the course had convinced him to compete again.
Having finished 33rd in his group in 2012, King finished first in his group in the 2013 competition. Attributing his success to three weeks of six-mile practice runs, King said he looked forward to returning for the next Rockeater competition.
It was training that also led to racing success for 9-year-old MeCaire Mattoon. Mattoon was a runner in the newly-introduced Pebble-Eater Adventure Race for youth with divisions for runners ages 4, 5 and 6; 7, 8 and 9; and 10 through 14.
In preparation for the race, Mattoon had spent two days a week for the past two months training with her father. A marathon runner himself, Mattoon’s father was competing near Cadyville while his daughter faced off in the Pebble-Eater.
Despite her training, which included running practice and sandbag carrying, Mattoon found herself unprepared for the stickiness of the final mud pit obstacle.
“The mud was really fun but it was really hard to crawl through,” Mattoon said.
For fellow Pebble-Eater runner Riley Hewson, strategy was the key to success. Though he enjoyed the design of his “Star Wars”-inspired mask, Hewson explained how it also served a strategic purpose during the beachside portion of the race.
“It’s so I don’t get the sand in my eyes,” Hewson said.