Inflatable fun…

Obstacles make their way to third annual Retro Run


The first wave stood at the starting line, one foot in front of the other, ready to take off toward the first obstacle. The man on the microphone gave the orders to the starter, and the runners were off.

Smiles on children’s faces and laughter from the runners fueled the spectators on either side of the course, giving them energy to cheer.

West Texas Endurance and the Texas Tech Resident Hall Association (RHA) put on the third annual Rockin’ Raider Inflatable Retro Run on Sept. 27 at Urbanovsky Park on the Texas Tech University campus in Lubbock.

Finally, the runners got to the first obstacle, a simple course through a small inflatable. Taking a right turn to the second inflatable, the runners were greeted by a lengthy inflatable that looked like a representation of a castle. Each tower had a steeple on the tip, and on the end was a drawbridge slide.

The fourth inflatable was different than the rest. It was a short and circular maze with a spinning obstacle on the top so that the runners had to crawl through the tricky turns while trying not to get hit at the same time.

Many of the other obstacles were easier to get through. A quick jump, tumble, and sprint would suffice, but the last inflatable was a blue menace. Standing more than 20 feet tall, the runners had to climb to the very top. However, going back down was the easy part. Gravity prevailed, helping runners slide all the way back down to the ground.

With one last turn to the left from the last inflatable, the finish line was just 100 meters away. A last-effort sprint brought the participants back to where they had started, near the live band and starting line.

Along the one-mile course, there are eight exciting inflatable obstacles. Some inflatables have you climb, slide, duck, and run, but all are fun.

“It’s a great family event that has obstacles that are well suited for kids and kids at heart,” said Ainsley Nelson of West Texas Endurance.

The Retro Run has been put on for three years, but the students recently added the inflatable part of the run.

“I heard from students on campus about the inflatable idea,” said Tera Stines, a sophomore at Texas Tech and RHA vice president of programming and public relations. “It would be something different than a normal 5K.”

The race is open to anybody in the community, and this year there were more than 150 participants.

“A little bit of both students and community runs the race,” Nelson said.

In addition to the attraction of the inflatables, there was also a live band performing. The band, Allison Firefly, played acoustic covers of pop hits and many retro hits from the 1950s through the 1990s. When the band wasn’t playing, retro hits filled the gaps in between performances.

After the race, the runners, and even non-participants, were able to enjoy many fun games and activities that were not part of the course.

Just to the left of the starting line were a couple of small inflatables. Students, children, and families also enjoyed playing tic-tac-toe and jenga.

The most popular side activity was the gladiator jousting. Two people stood on individual platforms wearing head gear and holding a jousting stick. When the referee started the match, both opponents started whacking each other to knock the other person off of their platform.

In the race, there were six waves of runners who started 15 minutes apart from each other. This organization of the race kept the runners from being packed and waiting at each of the inflatables.

After the waves were completed, from 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. any registered participants wearing a green armband were allowed to go “Footloose,” roaming free and playing on any of the inflatables as much as they wanted.

Before the first wave, runners checked in and were handed packets with their numbers. Each received a free lime-green tee shirt, as well a pair of mix-and-matching, pink and green socks to the first 300 runners.

Four friends wearing pink poodle skirt outfits participated in the race.

“My friends wanna do it for fun,” Hannah Rebong said. “I’m anxious, though! This is my first time! They’re runners, and I’m not.”

One of the four friends in pink poodle skirts, Ronda Dalton, was excited.

“It’s gonna be fun!” she exclaimed. “It’s my second race.”

Just before the first wave of runners, a family wearing rainbow afro-wigs and matching orange “Team King” shirts were excited to begin the run.

“This is out first family race,” Michael King explained. “This is our family’s first time running this race. But I have done triathlons for seven years, and Hanna has done triathlons for two years.”

The run was family-friendly, with an energetic atmosphere. Raising Cane’s fed the volunteers before the run, and refreshments from Bahama Bucks were served to everybody after the run next to the finish line.

Helping facilitate the event were many people from West Texas Endurance and volunteers from Texas Tech. The friendly volunteers at every obstacle ensured that everybody who entered the inflatable was safe and had a great time.

After running the race, the Kings said that it was fun, and they had an awesome time.

“We’re definitely coming back next year!” King said.

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