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1st annual Bakken X Trek coming to Williston

Bakken X Trek, northwest North Dakota’s premiere and homegrown obstacle terrain race, announces its first annual Obstacle Design Challenge to honor professional and amateur designers who want to make their mark by submitting a design concept for our region’s “filthiest 5k.”

In its inaugural year in 2015, the race featured 30 obstacles offering a range of difficulty for participants. The Williston course was designed by Extreme North Dakota Racing (ENDRacing) out of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Runners were asked to scale walls, slither through swampy cattails on their stomachs, wade through an ice bath and trek through a variety of terrain. This year, race organizers are inviting the public to design a new obstacle to incorporate into the race.

“We were getting so many comments during the race,” commented Bakken X Trek Director Jenn Shanahan with the Williston Parks & Recreation District. “People loved running it and watching other participants, and would say ‘You know what would be a crazy obstacle…?’ We decided to offer a way to let that creativity out.”

Race organizers are excited to see those out-of-the-box obstacle ideas and encourage designers to consider all angles. “Our concept with the X Trek is that it’s held in a beautiful natural setting that comes with its own challenges,” noted marketing coordinator Sabrina Ramey. “So we won’t really be interested in anything that requires substantial landscape changes to the park itself. There are a lot of obstacles that can be built to focus on grip strength, require natural features like mud, really punish certain muscle groups, or are just mentally intimidating as those were some suggestions.”

Obstacles must be able to accommodate a minimum of 2-3 racers at a time, be less than 12 feet high and cost less than $500 to construct out of common tools and materials. No electricity or powered features are permissible in the finished obstacle.

A panel of judges from the X Trek planning crew will determine finalists and a winner. Designs will be based on their creativity, originality, degree of difficulty, ease of construction/storage, their ‘fun factor’ and how they address safety concerns. Consistent with how obstacles were named last year, the final christening of the Obstacle Design Challenge will be up for public vote.

“If we get a fair amount of interest,” Jenn concluded, “we would love to make the Design Challenge an annual event.”

The Obstacle Design Challenge competition is open for entries from February 29 through April 15, 2016. The winner will be announced no later than April 29. Entering is free and easy. Official rules and entry criteria can be found at http://www.bakkenxtrek.com/design-challenge.

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