After a long, hard fought bout on he obstacle course, Geiger Elementary 5th Grader Zane Blaise enthusiastically embraces the spray of a water-gun. Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc.

LEWISTON — Mud pits. Tarzan swings. Climbing walls. Sound like an episode of “American Ninja Warrior?”

Hundreds of muddy kids who participated in the Tough Gator Challenge at Geiger Elementary School in Lewiston on Saturday got to embrace their inner ninja.

Parent Mike Courtemanche helped design the layout of the challenge in 2014.  He said he and a friend loved obstacle course races and the friend thought it would be neat to do one as a school fundraiser, in lieu of boring bake sales.

“When I stopped laughing at him, I’m like, ‘You’re crazy. They’ll never go for it,'” Courtemanche said.

A group of athletes cross the plank bridge at the Tough Gator Challenge at Geiger Elementary School in Lewiston on Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc

“The whole idea was that kids sit on their butts too much doing video games. (Today), they get outside and they love it.” he said. “It really serves two purposes: fundraising and getting people outside.”

The course is a mile and a half long, snaking around the woods outside the school. Crystal Robinson said her husband, Jeffery Cote, and their son, Lucas Cote, a kindergartner at Geiger, ran the course together. As she waited for them, Robinson said she was concerned her husband may have passed out in the mud pit.

A few minutes later, her family rounded the corner.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” she said. “It’s great for family fun, and mud? Yeah! Mud!”

Ellie Barnes, 4, of Lewiston, completes the tube obstacle at the Tough Gator Challenge on Saturday. Her father, Will, followed close behind. Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc

Geiger Elementary School Principal Cindy Gish said she expected 600 people would run the course on Saturday. The $10 registration fee benefits the school’s Parent Teacher Organization to help fund field trips and special activities.

“Some kids come and run it like 15 times,” Gish said. “They pretty much run a marathon today.”

Gish had already paid her dues: on Friday, the teachers completed a teacher run in front of a school-wide audience. That was enough for Gish.

“I can only do it once,” she said.

Andrew Mountcastle and his son Oscar, 4, stand muddied but triumphant near the final leg of the Tough Gator Challenge at Geiger Elementary School in Lewiston on Saturday. Sun Journal photo by Jon Bolduc

 

 

 


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