Get ready to jump, climb, slide, run and bounce: The Great Inflatable Race is coming to Lancaster on Saturday.
This will be the first time the event, which was created in 2012, has come to the county. The race features 10 custom-made giant inflatable obstacles along an approximately 2-mile track. It will take place at Spooky Nook Sports.
Parking will be located at the facility, and shuttles will transport racers to the starting line in an adjacent field.
The race is open to people of all ages and athletic levels.
“We want everybody from all fitness levels, ages, families, friends, anybody to come out and just have fun with it,” says Phillip Wright, chief operating officer of the Great Inflatable Race.
Unlike other obstacle runs, the Great Inflatable Race will not leave runners dirty; none of the inflatables involves water. Additionally, the obstacles are not designed to put racers through the wringer, they’re for fun.
“So it definitely appeals to a lot of people who don’t have to worry about trashing their car or having to have a towel or whatever,” Wright says. “They're just able to come and have a lot fun and go home a little tired and sweaty.”
Obstacles include “Glacier,” which requires runners to navigate through a field of large blow-up “icicles,” and “Volcano Escape,” in which runners climb up a steep wall and then slide down the other side. The obstacles are a varied mix of climbing, jumping, sliding and crawling.
All the obstacles are custom-designed by the team at The Great Inflatable Race, so you won’t see them anywhere else. The company is also available to design custom inflatables, or put on private events and fundraisers.
The race is expected to have about 2,000 people in attendance. In order to avoid backups on the obstacles, racers are divided into several waves. A new wave will start every 30 minutes, and racers will enter the starting obstacle four at a time.
You’ll pick which wave you’re in ahead of time — so no worries about waiting around once you get there.
In addition to the race, there is an Inflatable Village, which features separate game- and fun-oriented inflatables such as the “Big Baller,” which is similar to the red obstacle from the show “Wipeout.” The Inflatable Village requires a separate entry wristband, which also can be purchased by those not running in the race.
Wright came up with the idea for The Great Inflatable Race with a friend while in college. As members of a fraternity at Utah State University, they brought in an inflatable slide for a party during their junior year. It was wildly successful and got them thinking.
“We were near the point of graduating, and wanted to have a fun job, basically, something that would let us travel, and do something fun for work rather than a traditional 9-to-5,” Wright says.
He did some research and noticed that there weren’t any races with inflatables already in existence. There were plenty of more hardcore obstacle runs such as the Tough Mudder or the Spartan Race, and more fun runs like the Color Run. But none with just inflatables.
Wright held the first official race at his university in 2012, and worked to have a few more throughout the year. It was always a part-time gig until he sold the idea to Fundracer Event Management in 2015. The company manages other runs, such as the Santa Claus Run, and is based in Ogden, Utah.
The race has been put on about 65 times per year since 2017 in cities across the country.
The Great Inflatable Race partners with local charities wherever they go. The Lancaster charity partner is Hooves 4 Healing, a nonprofit dedicated to providing animal-assisted therapy for all ages and abilities.
Wright recommends bringing your own water and snacks to the race. Although there will be a water break along the route, it’s important to stay hydrated, especially during this mid-July heat.