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Morning Sun
  • Muddy Gorilla Dash tests racers

  • Organizers for the Gorilla Dash learned their lessons from last year. One of the things they were told in to improve was to make the course more difficult.

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  • Organizers for the Gorilla Dash learned their lessons from last year. One of the things they were told in to improve was to make the course more difficult.
    So they did. The Gorilla Dash was turned from a 3K to a 5K. Extra obstacles were added to make the Gorilla Dash closer to its inspiration, the Warrior Dash. Little did they know that all their efforts would pale in comparison to Mother Nature.
    Thanks to a heavy rain overnight and into the morning, the 5K obstacle course became even more of a challenge.
    “Originally, we designed a couple of different obstacles in a couple different places. As rainy and muddy as it is, we had the cadets run through it on Thursday and Friday, and they found it to be taxing for us,” said PSU ROTC Cadet Ethan Clouse, co-coordinator of the event. “We thought if it was that hard for us, we decided to even it out, so it is not as defeating as it could have been. We pulled out certain obstacles and put others in a different order.”
    But some obstacles couldn’t be changed. A pond crossing that was planned to be waist-deep became chest-deep thanks to the rains. The whole course became a challenge for any competitor.
    Cadet Byron Hatfield ran last year’s Gorilla Dash and also has competed in Warrior Dash events. Hatfield ran the course at least twice on Saturday, and he said this year’s course was particularly difficult.
    “The toughest part wasn’t the obstacles. It was the run through the northern part. You couldn’t take a step without your foot sinking in six inches. That’s a good long part of it,” Hatfield said.
    The Gorilla Dash, just in its early years, is still trying to grow every year. After operating costs are covered, the proceeds will go to a local charity.
    Clouse said that competitors race in the Gorilla Dash for a variety of reasons.
    “I think a lot of it is being able to have a feeling of self-accomplishment. It’s very difficult, and not something a lot of people can say they’ve done,” Clouse said. “Also, people are challenging themselves personally. That’s a great feeling.”
    Hatfield has another explanation.
    “I almost do it because I’m too stupid not to do it,” Clouse said.
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