Matt Campana’s voice booms with excitement on the phone.
He calls me to see if I need directions or anything else about a half hour before we arranged to meet at Larry’s Stable, site of Saturday’s inaugural Rider Rumble.
When I arrive, Campana says he wants to take me on a tour of the terrain by cart.
The Rider Rumble is a roughly three-mile nature race with multiple
heats/start times from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday. Participants can register online or in person Saturday. Registration includes a free T-shirt and costs $50 for adults, $35 for students or team and $15 for children ages 5 to 12. There will be a scaled-back children’s course across the street.
Proceeds from the race will benefit the Kent Police and Kent Fire departments.
“We thought it was a good place to start,” Campana said of this year’s beneficiaries, adding several police officers, firefighters and their friends and family have already registered.
As we head out, Campana explains the stable gate will be the starting and finish line. Participants will run up the hill an excavator has graded and through the open pasture. There will be a canal ditch, hay bales to scale followed by a ladder-type structure to climb. They will then run through a winding tree-lined trail.
“I think it’s another positive opportunity for Kentites to take advantage of,” Campana says, his blue eyes sparkling. “It’s an event you can feel good about, too. Not just because you’re challenging yourself physically, but you’re helping the local police and fire (departments).”
As Campana navigates the cart on the narrow path and dodges bumps, he says he wanted to organize something fun that would also give back to the community. Campana says he got the idea for the Rider Rumble after competing in a Warrior Dash in Logan, OH, in June.
He has worked in corporate event retreat planning for several years. In 2006, Campana founded Corporate Motivation, Inc., to help businesses and individuals improve performance, morale and loyalty in the workplace while giving back to communities.
The community seems to be giving back, too. Larry has offered his land and Second Sole, Ray’s Place, Ritchies Sporting Goods, and Vertical Runner have signed on as sponsors for the race.
Once participants make it out of the woods, they will have to scale the log wall, run through pits, have a mud slide to navigate and other challenges.
They will then get back on the trail and run past the chicken coop. The path leads to a spring-fed lake. Participants can either clean up and swim the 65 or so yards or run around the perimeter of the lake to the final dash up the hill and across the finish line.
Afterward, participants can relax and enjoy the live entertainment and grilled food.
Racers will be timed and prizes will be awarded for age groups and teams, though Campana emphasizes the race is primarily for fun and a good cause.
“It’s designed for fun,” Campana says, adding the obstacles make the race more than just running. “People shouldn’t be scared off by what’s here. If they can’t do a specific challenge, they don’t have to.”
Campana says he hopes the Rider Rumble will become an annual event and to have more events at Larry’s Stables, such as a winter snowshoe event.
“It’s a kind of a hidden little gem back here that just goes right along with the existing races that are in place in town and all the new changes that Kent’s experiencing,” he says. “It’s just one more opportunity for people to be involved in their community.”