Test your athleticism at Scioto Audubon’s free, outdoor fitness challenge
As Mike and Rosie got ready for their annual “daddy-daughter dance,” Max and I bundled up in our winter coats and boots. It was time for our first “mommy-son fitness challenge.” Sure, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easy as a daddy-daughter dance, but it was my excuse to get us outdoors to spend some quality time together.
Our destination was the Rotary Obstacle Course at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, a 120-acre urban playground along the banks of the Scioto River that offers a panoramic view of the nearby Columbus skyline.
The obstacle course, which opened in 2013, is free to the public and features a quarter-mile running track and nine challenges including a tire run, tunnel crawl, cargo climb, balance beams, belly crawl, monkey bars, over-and-under log obstacle, 8-foot wall and log run.
Ready. Set. Go!
1. Tire Run & Flip
Max and I raced through the first challenge, a tire run and flip. We skipped the flip part, which involved lifting and flipping an oversized tire end over end, and went straight for the flip, high-stepping it through rows of car tires laid out in pairs. I gleefully bested Max in this fun, but tiring, test. Wendy: 1; Max: 0
2. Tunnel Crawl
Next came a tunnel crawl, which reminded me of exploring water pipes as a kid. A layer of ice inside the tunnels made this challenge extra demanding. Max’s small frame and agility gave him an edge, allowing him to snake to the finish with ease. Wendy: 1; Max: 1
3. Cargo Climb
Channeling his inner Spiderman, Max zipped to the top of the cargo climb challenge. But maneuvering over the top proved difficult, as a fear of heights and an uncertainty to go feet first down the backside overcame him. I gave up the fight momentarily as Max mustered through his apprehensions, making him the real winner on the ropes. Wendy: 1; Max: 2
4. Balance Beam
The balance beam proved harder than it looked. Max and I encouraged each other to stay the course. We learned that if we briskly walked across the beam and kept our eyes focused on the end of the log, versus staring at our feet, we’d succeed with ease. Tie! Wendy: 2; Max: 3
5. Belly Crawl
Max effortlessly crawled on his elbows and knees under a web of connected ropes. I dug my hands into the sand and tried to pull my body through the challenge but didn’t budge. Pulling my own body weight from such a position wasn’t happening. Max won this one, belly down. Wendy: 2; Max: 4
6. Monkey Bars
Neither one of us was ever particularly good at swinging arm by arm across a series of bars, especially when the bars are ice-cold. We gave this challenge an honest effort, but finally decided it drove us bananas and gave up. No winner!
This challenge involved maneuvering under and over a series of elevated logs. Easy enough. But Max’s dexterity got him through in no time, leaving me gasping in the wood chips. Wendy: 2; Max: 5
8. Wall Climb
The wall climb didn’t make sense at first glance. There are two options to scale – a high wall and a low wall. We both went for the low option, pulling our bodies over the side, as if pulling our bodies out of a pool. This seemed easy, but I’ll give Max the edge on this one, since the small wall probably still seemed tall to him. Wendy: 2; Max: 5
9. Log Run
This challenge involves simply running over a pile of logs. I suppose the skill is besting your opponent with choosing a better route. Of all the challenges, this one had me worried about slipping and breaking my leg the most. Both Max and I equally completed this one without breaking a bone. Tie!
Final score: Wendy: 3; Max: 6
Challenge yourself at the Columbus Rotary Obstacle Course, and for extra fun, be sure to visit the 18,000 square-foot Grange Insurance Audubon Center, and check out the onsite 35-foot-high fiberglass climbing wall, playground, and bocce and volleyball courts.
Learn more about the Scioto Audubon Metro Park.