The 2nd Annual MentorKids Kentucky Rugged Race presented by Independence Bank is back, with all the funds raised staying in the community to benefit local children. The Tough Mudder-style endurance event offers a little something for everyone, from the toughest competitor to the most laid-back participant.
The first wave of the race will begin at 7 a.m. on Aug. 28th at Diamond Lake Resort. The 5K course will include at least 26 obstacles — including a varied combination of lakes, monkey bars, hay bales, rope climb, tires, an Army crawl, military-style climbing walls, and various areas filled with mud throughout the course.
Registration opens Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and officials said it’s important to sign up as early as possible this year. (Register here.)
The race will be run in waves this year, with a limit of 20 people per wave (the Elite competitors will be in the first waves).
The Elite division is only for individuals, while the Ultimate division is for individuals or teams. Participants can register for any wave, but spots will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Waves will be locked once they are full.
Registration cost $45 from May 1 to June 28, $50 from June 29 to Aug. 22, and $60 starting Aug. 23. Participants will receive a T-shirt, medal, and swag bag.
For those who don’t want to run the race but still want to help, volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact MentorKids Kentucky at 270-926-6893 for more information.
The first MKK Rugged Race was held in 2019. Executive Director Berly Tillman Sullivan said competitors were impressed by such a challenging and rugged course in the first year.
“It was truly unique in the fact that we were able to have elite participants, who are serious contenders,” she said. “Then we had the ultimate waves, which for anyone who just wanted to come out and see if they could do it.”
MKK planned to build on that success in 2020, but the race was scrapped altogether because of the pandemic.
“If we can’t do it with excellence, then we’re going to wait until we can,” Sullivan said.
So they’re back for 2021, with hopes of an even bigger turnout and more impressive course.
While the race provides a fun challenge, Sullivan said the main goal is to bring people together to show their support for children in the community.
All money raised from the Rugged Race will go directly toward underwriting MentorKids Kentucky’s programs.
“MentorKids Kentucky exists to positively impact the lives of kids from single-parent and non-traditional households” Sullivan said. “We do this by matching youth with adult Christian mentors who help them persevere through the trials of life, build their character, and offer them hope for the future.”
Mentors and mentees commit to spending at least one hour per week with each other.
“During that time we are hoping that character is getting built, that they are preserving through trials, and that they are developing a stronger hope for the future,” Sullivan said.
MKK also hosts a Star Program, which serves kids who are waiting for a mentor — though children already matched with a mentor can still participate. The program has been on hold during the pandemic, but Sullivan hopes it can return soon.
Through the program, guardians can drop children off at 4 p.m. Thursdays, and MKK staff will feed them, help them with homework or do various other activities and skill-building.
Sullivan hopes to impact as many lives as possible.
“You can reach 1,000 kids and it not be lasting,” she said. “So every encounter that we have, we do everything that we can to make it lasting.”
For those with even a slight interest in running or volunteering with the race, Sullivan had a simple message:
“Just do it for the kids.”