On May 12, I thought I was in decent shape. That day’s Devil Dash in Boulder City taught me that “in shape” is a relative concept. At the starting line, I looked around and saw all sorts of creative costumes. Men and women wore tutus, devil horns and tails, crazy face paint, and colorful knee-high socks. A group of five women came to run in full, white wedding gowns. Perhaps they felt marriage is hell? It all seemed so fun.
Then the race began.
The course covered rugged, steep mountainous terrain. Between the intense slopes were 13 obstacles with hellish names like Satan’s Steeple and Web of Lies. Tires, ropes, barbed wire, muddy water and towering wooden contraptions stood in our way of the finish line.
Ambulance lights appeared over a tough hill I’d scrambled over just seconds before. Strangely, this helped me pick up my pace. I passed the wedding-gown-clad bunch. By this time, their dresses were dusty and brown, hiked up above their knees. The brides’ desperation was apparent on their faces.
In the penultimate obstacle, my hair got caught in some barbed wire. But I got out alive. I jumped through the Ring of Fire and finished the race. I placed in the 50th percentile overall. I am somewhat satisfied. After the race, I cooled down in the Beer Garden of Eden. There were food and drinks and music. I donated my running shoes to the Salvation Army after the race. It was great to see that so many others did the same. The runners were lively in Eden; I know we were all relieved to be out of Hell.