The Hartford Marathon will not be the only race in town in October. For those seeking an extra degree of challenge – both physical and mental – there’s another race course for you. It’s called Grit ‘N Wit, New England’s first obstacle course to combine brain and brawn, and is the brainchild of a Connecticut-grown company “committed to the development of healthy, engaged communities.”
Launched just two years ago by UConn law school graduate James Moher, the event, now held in Hartford’s Keney Park, is attracting a growing following of enthusiastic participants. The goal is to take on 20-plus obstacles over a 3-mile course designed to challenge individuals both physically and mentally.
"Most competitions are one dimensional. If you do well at a race, that just tells you're fast. But if you do well at Grit 'N Wit, that tells you a whole lot more,” Moher explains. "I've always thought that there should be a competition that should test the whole person. And there wasn't one...until now."
This year Grit ‘N Wit will take place October 24, 2015 from 9:00AM – 5:00PM. The event is open to the public in the morning and for college students in the afternoon. It is open to all ages 10 & up.
Organizers have seen the event grow from 240 participants in its first year, to 420 last year. This year, with improvements to both the physical and mental challenges, and strong support from local businesses, they’re pushing the envelope - hoping to surpass 1,000 participants.
Last year’s event, for example, had participants memorize a pattern, then scale a hill and put the pieces of the puzzle together. After climbing over a series of inclined monkey bars and 5' walls, participants came to Ultimate Field Sobriety Test. There they had to get two golf balls through a maze while standing on an inclined balance beam. A post-race survey showed that 95 percent of participants like – or loved – the experience.
“The mental obstacles are designed to be fun and challenging - think Survivor, the Amazing Race or MTV's The Challenge - but without the bugs, plane ticket or a stint on the Real World,” organizers point out. Rebekah Castagno, a two-time participant, said "It's the creative and physical combination that makes it such a fun and unique challenge."
As Grit ‘N Wit continues to grow, plans are in the works for it to be extended to other cities, and perhaps to college campuses, in the future – another Connecticut export that began as nothing more than an idea. In addition, organizers say the event will support college students by offering scholarship awards and prizes in this year’s Hartford event.
Teams are not required, but are highly encouraged. Registration is currently $57 and increases the first of every month. The website is www.gritwitrun.com Volunteers are also welcome to help out for the day.