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  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Jessie Williams, left, and Tori Wagoner make their way through the course during Saturday's Insane Inflatable 5K at the Plex North. The Insane Inflatable 5K is an untimed event featuring inflatable obstacles for runners to avoid.

Sunday, July 23, 2017 1:00 am

Things get insane at Inflatable 5K

Plex North hosts untimed event filled with slides, obstacles


You can always tell a Scotsman – because he wears a kilt.

Even to a 5K race over a course filled with giant inflatable obstacles in Fort Wayne.

Male adults of the Spiers clan – Sam Spiers from Cincinnati and Adam Spiers from Lima, Ohio – came out to Saturday's Insane Inflatable 5K at the Plex North sporting Boyd/Royal Stewart orange-plaid tartan kilts.

“Yeah, manly men,” quipped Adam, 40, who, with Sam, brought their sizable clan for some family fun.

The Spiers on the course included Elliana and Grace, both 6; David, 8, and Gabriel, 9. Elizabeth, 4, was cheerleader on the sidelines and Levi, 1, was pushed in a stroller by his mom, Jessica Spiers.

“We had a great time,” said Adam, adding that they've participated in a similar event called The Savage Race in Zanesville, Ohio. “This was the first time we could incorporate the kids.” 

In its third year in Fort Wayne, the Insane Inflatable 5K is “noncompetitive” and not timed said Jackie Dionne, event coordinator for Insane Inflatable 5K, which puts on similar events nationwide.

Participants completed the 5K run – on challenging wet and slippery grass Saturday morning after sizable thunderstorms rolled in during the wee hours – and clambered over huge soft-sided inflatable obstacle structures featuring slides and climbing features.

To start, participants faced a mad dash to an eight-lane, eight-level “staircase” that members of their heat all tried to climb at one time. The finish line was down a giant slide.

Many participants came dressed in costume – tutus were a favorite of the teen-girl set, while superheros ruled the day for young boys.

Dionne says the sponsoring company puts on 100 events in a year. “We get a lot of work groups for wellness initiatives or team-building, church groups, youth groups,” she said.

If someone doesn't feel comfortable taking on one of the bouncy obstacles, he or she can simply go around it without penalty, Dionne said.

“We get people of all ages and sizes and shapes and no one is feeling pressure to make a certain time,” she said. “It brings a lot of family togetherness.”