Thousands of people will be heading to the Poconos this weekend to challenge their strength, endurance and stamina. A military obstacle course event is making its debut.
The event is the first of several others lined up this spring and summer, responsible for boosting local excitement and the economy.
The golf course at the Inn at Pocono Manor near Mount Pocono looks more like an obstacle course because it is.
This weekend more than 15,000 people from all over the region will be packed onto the green way to participate in the Tough Mudder.
“Tough Mudder is a 12-mile military obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces. It’s designed to test all-around mental and physical strength,” said Megan Ryan, Tough Mudder Associate Director of Events.
To put together the event requires a lot of manpower because Tough Mudder crews build more than two dozen obstacles. They use local help and products.
“Sourcing vendors as much as possible is really huge. We try to give back to the community as much as possible,” said Ryan.
One of the obstacles in the middle of construction is called Everest. When it’s finished, plywood will be covered with a slippery plastic surface and smothered in vegetable oil. The goal of the obstacle that looks like a half-pipe skateboarders use is to run up, reach the edge and pull yourself over to the other side.
Other obstacles include crawling under dangling electrical wires and walking along a balance beam over a pool of water.
The spokesperson for the Pocono Mountains Visitor’s Bureau says this type of obstacle course race is one of a total of 16 coming to the Poconos this summer. All the races combined are expected to draw a quarter million more people to visit the area.
That means a boost for local businesses, a boost which is already being felt at the Best Western Hotel in Blakeslee. Workers there are booking rooms for Tough Mudder visitors.
“Wonderful, wonderful, considering that we had no snow, so the ski season was a little wanting. So this is very good news,” said Verene Sanchez of The Best Western.
Down the street, Ray’s Tuscan Villa is also ready for the crowds.
“Yeah, I’m really happy about that. After this winter, with no snow and warm weather, it will really help boost the local economy. The area really needs the money,” said Raymond Dulisse, the owner of Ray’s Tuscan Villa.
There is still room to sign up for the Tough Mudder race this weekend.