Seventeen co-ed teams competed in last Saturday’s Goomna Adventure Race around Highland. with a local father, his daughter and her friend proving to be the top team to tackle the grueling course and its considerable obstacles.
“Git-R Done” was the overall champion of the Goomna after besting the other 16 co-ed teams with a winning team time of 3 hours, 27 minutes. The team consisted of Jerry Holtzclaw, his daughter Emily Holtzclaw and her friend and training partner Jayden Shelton.
Emily Holtzclaw and Shelton are former state qualifiers from the Highland High School cross country and track teams who now both compete in cross country and track at the next level, with Holtzclaw running as an incoming sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis and Shelton as an incoming freshman at McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill.
Jerry Holtzclaw said Mark Rosen — Highland’s director of parks and recreation who is also the founder and designer of the Goomna — and the entire volunteer crew do a great job orchestrating this unique event.
In addition, the weather also fully cooperated throughout the day on Saturday.
“It’s one of the few I’ve done more than 10 times over my 30-plus years competing in endurance sports,” Jerry Holtzclaw said.
After many years competing as his teammate, Jerry’s wife Cheryl Holtzclaw passed the torch to their daughter Emily, who then recruited Shelton, her friend and former HHS cross country teammate.
“Both girls are accomplished distance runners but had never attempted a multi-discipline event,” Jerry Holtzclaw said. “Although we only trained as a team once before the race, each of us is very disciplined in our training regimen so fitness level was not a concern. What I did worry about was how well the girls would be able to quickly learn and apply all the race tactics that make this event so challenging. Things like staying hydrated and fueled throughout the duration of the event is critical. Knowing how to safely ride a pace line on the bike, running while carrying two liters of water on your back and most importantly map and compass navigation are things that can make a big difference in the race. These girls not only quickly learned new skills but successfully translated them in to great race-day results. I’m not sure, but this may be the first time a team with two female team members has won the event. I couldn’t be prouder of my team.”
Emily Holtzclaw said preparation-wise, she just focused on doing her cross country training and lifting for the upcoming fall season at Wash U.
“We all biked together once and I run with Jayden almost every morning and my dad every now and then,” Emily Holtzclaw said. “There wasn’t a weak link and we worked well together which proved to be a successful combination. I think it’s safe to say we are all very happy with the outcome.”
Finishing in second place was the team of “WTF” with a team time of 3:43. The team was made up of Tim Rakers, Blake Ohren and Kelly Rosen, Mark Rosent’s wife.
Placing third was the team of Pulse Performaance with a team time of 3:49. They included Jeff Weinacht, Robert Zobrist and Allie Zobrist.
Following is a bit about the course layout and what teams had to endure to complete this year’s Goomna Adventure Race.
All of the teams ran 1.6 miles before mounting their bikes to retrieve their first checkpoint south of town past the Latzer Homestead. From there, the teams were given a compass bearing to their next checkpoint.
At the next checkpoint, the teams dismounted their bikes, ran a .50 mile lap around a lake and before being given another set of compass bearings that led them back to the Korte Recreation Center where the race started and ended.
While teams were gone, a new checkpoint was added to the map and an obstacle course was set up.
Teams completed the obstacle course and then ran to the Highland High School football stadium. At the stadium, the teams had to run up and down the bleachers, retrieve a 15-foot long aluminum pole and carry it one time around the track. Once completed, they ran back to the Korte Recreation Center and discovered two new checkpoints.
The new checkpoints were at the Weinheimer Community Center and at Spindler Park.
At the Weinheimer, each team had to run sprints and push a 45-pound weight up and down the court. At Spindler Park each team had to complete 45 pull-ups on the playground equipment.
When teams completed both of these disciplines, they biked back to the Korte Recreation Center where they found another new checkpoint. This checkpoint had them bike to Merwin Park where they had to dismount their bikes again and run .60 miles before returning to their bikes and biking back to the start.
Once back from Merwin Park, they had to repeat the same 1.6-mile run and then they were finished.