Twenty-eight racers traversed Wilmore and southwestern Jessamine County on Saturday in a race that combined service and adventure — the signature of the ministry that sponsored it.
Confrontation Point Ministries started the adventure race at its property off Campground Lane in Wilmore — the same land that had hosted the Wilmore Camp Meeting for 120 years until Confrontation Point bought it in October 2010. Saturday’s race included 11 teams of two and six individual competitors.
Racers began just after 9 a.m., running about 3 miles through downtown Wilmore and out High Bridge Road before turning right on Shanty Hill Road and following a gravel road all the way down to the bank of the Kentucky River.
On the river, individuals in kayaks and teams in canoes paddled downriver to a shanty-boat checkpoint where the Moron Brothers serenaded them with Bluegrass music. Once returning to the launch point, racers took a steep half-mile trail run up to the Asbury University challenge course, where they quickly made their way through obstacles before hopping on their bicycles.
Back out Shanty Hill Road, the bikers hung a right on High Bridge Road and followed it all the way to High Bridge Park, where a surprise building challenge with several wood blocks awaited them.
“That’s pretty CPish,” said racer and CP volunteer Roger Brock. “I work here, and we do a lot of going on the fly, figuring out what we have to do, and I think this race incorporated some of that.”
Once the small structure was properly assembled, they biked back up High Bridge Road all the way into Wilmore and finished the last long leg of their journey back at Confrontation Point — but the race was not over.
At the campground, racers took part in a tree-planting checkpoint made possible by donations from UBS bank and nonprofit organization Blessed Earth. CP executive director Andy Bathje said the tree-planting was especially appropriate as they maintained the property that had deep spiritual meaning for many. The Ichthus music festival was held on the campground for decades.
“You can just imagine how many people felt the Lord speak to them out here, from camp meeting and Ichthus, Great Commission Fellowship Church meeting out here, and a lot of them just walking their dogs out here and just reflecting upon the Lord in the shade of a good tree,” Bathje said.
Confrontation Point is seeking donations to plant another 25 trees in the coming months.
Racers completed a disc-golf hole before finally ending in the “finishers’ cage,” a tall cylinder that Confrontation Point also uses to collect recycling at Ichthus each year.
Georgetown’s Sharlyn Golding won the race, stepping into the finishers’ cage around 10:30 a.m. She is a member of a central Kentucky McDonald’s cycling team but said she enjoyed all the different elements of Saturday’s race, though the construction challenge slowed her down the most.
“I didn’t quite get the flag where it needed to be,” she said. “I was there building for about eight minutes. He finally said, ‘The flag is OK.’”
Confrontation Point hosts more than 50 groups each year for service projects including home repair, tornado relief, environmental conservation, recycling and urban work.
“All of our trips, the goal is to give these groups, teams of often young people, chances to live out their faith by serving others and doing it in a way where they have to take control and figure out how to build a handicapped ramp or whatever it might be,” Bathje said.
“The purpose of this race with that combo of adventure and service is the signature of who Confrontation Point is as a mission organization, and the purpose was to raise funds for the good works that we do throughout the year.”
This was the inaugural year of the race; Bathje said it will become an annual event.
“A lot of the racers have already said they’re coming back,” he said as the last racers finished. “I’m hearing great things; people are having a great time.”