If you are a jogger and enjoy a physically-demanding run, then the Indy Patriot Challenge may just be your cup of tea – and party! No, not the Tea Party – politics has no part in what organizers Chet Klene and Steve Witsken are staging. Patriotism, however, plays a big role – along with a focus on family fun. Hence the name Indy Patriot Challenge which is scheduled Saturday, September 8, the weekend before the 9-11 anniversary. “We’re focusing a lot on 9/11 and patriotism. For example, several of the course obstacles will have patriotic names, like ‘Capitol Hill’,” explained a smiling Klene, whose day job is owner of a collection agency. “Steve is a firefighter who has strong feelings about 9/11, so that made sense too,” Klene added.
The Indy Patriot Challenge (IPC) is a jog/run over a three-mile-long course of varied terrain, marked by easy to moderately difficult obstacles. In addition to open land and woods, the IPC cross-country course will feature tire runs, cargo net climbs, a water slide, a log carry, mud pits, water crossings, ravines, dirt climbs, and a rope climb. “We want the majority of people to be able to complete the course, and we want to keep it family friendly,” explained Witsken, whose rural property in Hamilton County has been converted into the challenging, but doable obstacle course. “Some of these races focus on the really competitive aspect of it, and we certainly want everyone to be competitive and try to do their best at it. But at the same time, we want a family of four to come out and be able to do it and have it be a ‘family building’ time,” he added.
IPC will offer the usual race accoutrements including a T-shirt, chip timing, musical entertainment, and a free beer for adults; a root beer for the kids. Organizers are hopeful that, in addition to super-charged adrenaline junkies, parent-child teams will take a crack at the course. “I ran the mini in Bloomington this year and it was the best run I’d ever had,” remembered Klene. “About a month later, I ran the Susan Komen 5k with my daughter, Jade, and it was better. It was so cool to experience that with my 11-year-old daughter.”
The Klene kids have a family friend whose diabetes requires the several-times-a-day routine of blood testing – a sobering example of challenges faced by young diabetics. That’s why a portion of IPC registration fees will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Witsken, who also is a medic, frequently sees on-the-job reminders of the debilitating effects of the disease. “I think it’s a good platform for JDRF because in today’s world it’s really important that we get kids out there and excited about fitness and having fun. What better way to do it than with their family and friends,” said Witsken.
Peter Jennings, the late anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, said, “9-11 was a reminder that the bonds of family can be severed in an instant. They are essential, crucial, valuable, fragile.” It’s a sentiment shared by Klene and Witsken, and it’s the overarching theme they say will always define the Indy Patriot Challenge. So, do you have what it takes?
Indy Patriot Challenge, Saturday, September 8, 2012. Race times 10AM, 11AM and 12:00PM. Registration is $69.11 per adult; $19.11 for kids. Active military, fire and police receive a $30 discount. More information is available at www.indypatriotchallenge.org.