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CUMBERLAND --- For the past few years, the sand volleyball courts in the back of Fore Court Racquet & Fitness Club on Cray Street had been vacant and pretty much forgotten.
But when a club member approached Dave Morin, the president and general manager of Fore Court, about the possibility of transforming the big outdoor space into a training center for obstacle racing, the wheels went into motion.
‚ÄúI got together with Robb McCoy, who is the founder and the race organizer of the F.I.T. Challenge in Attleboro,‚ÄĚ said Morin. ‚ÄúWe got approval from the proper authorities, and we decided to go forward to it.‚ÄĚ
The result was a 19,000 square foot facility, complete with over 20 obstacles and everything an obstacle racing junkie could want in helping them prepare for an upcoming race or stay sharp in their sport.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre the only outdoor training center of this size in this state, southeastern Massachusetts, and Connecticut,‚ÄĚ Morin said proudly. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve been here for 28 years and this certainly wasn‚Äôt something I thought I‚Äôd ever build. But this is great.‚ÄĚ
The center, which is called the F.I.T. Challenge OCR (Outdoor Course Race) Training Center at Fore Court, will officially open its doors to the public on Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25 with a free grand opening ceremony.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to be showing people what our training center looks like,‚ÄĚ said Morin. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôll have five lines of equipment set up so people can go through each line and work with our instructors.‚ÄĚ
Obstacle racing, which has been made popular worldwide by organizations such as Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and the Spartan Race series, consists of a race (from your average 5K to a marathon) on a trail course that has its share of mud, ponds, rocks, tree roots, and small holes.
If that wasn‚Äôt enough, there are also several obstacles that participants must overcome, such as climbing up ropes and over large walls, crossing balance beams, leaping over fire pits, and crawling through pipes and under barbed wire.
‚Äú(Obstacle racing) has exploded,‚ÄĚ Morin admitted, ‚Äúand what we‚Äôre finding out is that it‚Äôs all for ages. There are teenagers and college students, as well as 50- and 60-year-old adults doing this.‚ÄĚ
That‚Äôs where the facility comes into play, and to help those ranging from the wide-eyed beginner to the hardcore veteran, it features 10 climbing walls, a 40-foot crawl, monkey bars, a Hercules hoist, eight rope climbs, a cargo net climb, and a variety of other obstacles.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs actually still in construction,‚ÄĚ added Morin. ‚ÄúWe will be finished next week, but basically, most of (the facility) was hand-built by [using] pictures, designs, and website information.‚ÄĚ
While Morin and McCoy have been very hard at work putting the finishing touches on their masterpiece, they are also looking into scheduling classes for certain aspects of obstacle racing, such as climbing ropes and walls, and organizing a short course obstacle race in October.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to have drop-in classes,‚ÄĚ reported Morin. ‚ÄúWe want to have a ratio of 10-to-1 or 15-to-1 in terms of students and instructors so people will get the proper instruction out there.
‚ÄúOur prices will be out Monday, but the drop-in fees per day will probably be around $15. We‚Äôll have class cards for anyone who wants to buy 10 or 20 classes, and we‚Äôre going to build this into our membership, so in addition to getting the outdoor training center, people will have access to our facility.‚ÄĚ
For more information on the training facility, visit www.forecourtri.com and click on the ‚ÄėObstacle Course Training‚Äô link, and for more information about the F.I.T. Challenge, visit www.fitchallenge.org.
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