The Chicago challenge that will leave your family dirty

The family that gets muddy together stays together, right?

Discover this unusual form of family bonding at the Kids Obstacle Challenge, a nationwide event that has boys and girls, ages 5-16, completing a course that includes swinging on a rope into a giant mud pit, army crawling across rough terrain, climbing cargo nets and taking part in lots of other muddy fun. Participants are sent off in waves every half hour to avoid a real mucky situation.

Kids receive snacks and a medal upon crossing the finish line, as well as a goodie bag and race photos to take home. Once they’re done—it usually takes 30 minutes or less—if they decide they want to do the whole thing over again, course re-runs cost only $5. Otherwise, everyone can kick back and enjoy the post-race festival with games, pumping music and an activity zone where kids can test their fitness skills (and maybe even win a prize!).

And parents don’t have to stand on the sidelines twiddling their thumbs while their kids experience all the messy excitement (what kind of fun would that be?). Moms and dads run the course for free—and your kids’ responses to seeing the adults covered in mud couldn’t be more priceless.

It should probably go without saying that you’ll want to wear clothes that can be permanently ruined. And while there are rinse stations post-race, be sure to bring a change of clothes for the ride home. Photos of the happy mud-covered family are the only kind of souvenirs you’ll want to take home with you, not stained car seats.

If you go

Kids Obstacle Challenge – Chicago

June 16, 2018; 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Lippold Park, 851 IL-176, Crystal Lake

Starting at $56

This article has been updated with the most recent information. It was originally published on June 7, 2017.  

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