First Posted: 7/1/2013
There are dirty girls, Spartans, warriors, and tough mudders – but what if you don’t exactly fall into one of these categories?
On July 20, there won’t be a need for any labels at all with the introduction of R3 OPS, the newest and totally locally organized and supported mud run.
Run organizer Nicole Farber found inspiration in a moment that stemmed from her former job as executive director of Candy’s Place in Forty Fort.
“I had a patient that was just diagnosed with cancer and was very upset,” the 34-year-old Dallas resident recalled, “and I said to her, ‘You have to understand that next time this year you’re going to be doing something you never imagined you would,’ and I meant that. Wouldn’t you know, a year later she called and asked me to do the Dirty Girl Mud Run with her, and of course I said yes.”
Farber, who is now the director of patient services for Medical Imaging Specialists at both Vision Imaging of Kingston and Hazleton Imaging, knew she wanted to put together such an event, but one that would leave a large impact on the area she loves so much.
The three-mile course is a combination mud run with obstacles, with some such parts being named after songs, such as the “Ho, Hey!” Hay Bale Maze and the “Walk the Line” Balance Beams.
A RACE FOR EVERYONE
R3 OPS is touting itself as the “mud run with options,” and Farber and her crew of over 100 are working hard to ensure that that’s a reality. The “R3” portion of the title stands for the levels participants can choose from – refined, rugged, or rogue – and the “OPS” is short for “options.”
“Each obstacle will have three different sections that are designated for whatever way someone chooses to run the race,” Farber explained. “Let’s say there’s a big climbing wall. One section will be ‘refined,’ with ropes and steps to help people up and over. Another section will be ‘rogue,’ with absolutely nothing at all and an extra wall to climb over. The ‘rugged’ is the in-between; it might have just the ropes.
“You can even go around any obstacle you want. A lot of people get nervous about things like this, but there’s no need to be. We just want to bring out the entire community and have fun. When you come to an event like this, there’s no judgment; everybody’s friends. If you can’t get over something, there will be people you’ve never even seen before who are going to help you up and over and encourage you.”
Participants that are up for a big physical challenge are welcome to sign up to participate in the Extreme Challenge Area, a set of obstacles that is coming from Las Vegas Boot Camp and features the “jumping bars” from “American Ninja Warrior,” as well as a 12-foot climbing wall, 20-foot rope climb, and an inverted wall, among other things.
Even then, there are options to forego certain obstacles if the runner isn’t ready for it. There will be two lanes for each obstacle, and participants get three tries for each one.
A LASTING IMPACT
While other runs breeze through the area and leave little behind, R3 OPS will serve as a way to highlight local talents and give money back to the community, making its effects last long after the one-day event.
One such cause that will benefit from R3 OPS is also the embodiment of the spirit of athleticism: the Stephanie Jallen Paralympic Fund.
Jallen, a teenager from Harding, was born with CHILD syndrome, a congenital disorder that caused limb defects to the left half of her body. There are only 32 known cases worldwide. The ailment has never stopped her, as she was named to the U.S. Paralympic Alpine Ski Team in 2011, recently won two gold medals at the IPC Alpine Skiing NORAM Cup in Canada, and will be making the trip to the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Her fund will receive each spectator donation of $5 for entry.
“Stephanie’s going to do the course,” Farber said. “There are people who are going to help her through it, and she’s actually training right now for it. She’s our motivator. She has such strength; you wouldn’t even believe it.”
Five bucks isn’t such a bad deal, considering all spectators will get to be witness to.
“It’s not just standing at the finish line waiting for people to cross,” Farber pointed out. “You’ll be able to see the Extreme Challenge area, the mud pits, some other obstacles.”
R3 OPS will also be donating 100 percent of the parking fees to the Pittston Township Volunteer Fire Company, who is assisting with the location of the run.
Although the event has yet to happen, Farber is already seeing support in droves from local entities. She can’t be thankful enough.
“I am just so thankful for all my staff, crew, volunteers, the participants, and the sponsors for this event,” she said. “I could never make any of this happen without the people who are working alongside of me.”
Due to the generosity of the area sponsors hopping on board, Farber is excited to announce that RS OPS is able to maintain pricing at a regular registration rate, without it going up.
The sponsors include NEPA Crossfit, Las Vegas Boot Camp, Pennsylvania National Guard, Vision Imaging of Kingston, Ken Pollock Nissan, Max Performance Supplements, First National Bank, The Weekender, Lamar, 98.5 KRZ, Froggy 101, The Mountain, Fuzz 92.1, Rock 107, Pride Builders, Balent Construction, Georgetti Painting Company, Wilkes-Barre YMCA, Danko’s All-American Fitness, NEPA Fit Club, United Fighting Arts Association, Advocare, School of Combat Arts, Bar Louie, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Cartridge World, Base, Tom Butler Provisions, and Dallas Little People, as per the R3 OPS website.
THE ROOTS OF FRIENDSHIP
Not only will R3 OPS highlight the people of the community, but the area itself as well. The theme for the run is Native American, a culture that Farber and her family are steeped in.
“I come from the Delaware tribe, and my grandfather’s side of the family is Iroquois,” Farber said. “I wanted to get back to those roots in doing this because I find it so inspiring. This area was once full of Indian tribes, and it’s so rich with history, so why not pay tribute to that?”
The R3 OPS symbol is that of two arrows crossed in an X formation, the Native American symbol for friendship. There will be plenty of woodwork done by a local artist at the race, including giant Indian heads and teepees that will serve as water stations throughout the course.
“I mean, just look at this spot,” Farber said late last week when she gave the Weekender a quick tour of what the race course was like. “It’s beautiful. I’m glad we could utilize nature like this, which I think is something that also goes back to the roots of this area.”