- By Kristina Webb Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A fun run coming to Royal Palm Beach will be the largest event yet to use the village’s new 5K course — while serving as a unique challenge for participants.
The Insane Inflatable 5K on Saturday morning at Royal Palm’s Commons Park features 11 blow-up obstacles intermittently stretched along the run’s path, part of which will be on the new Commons Park 5K pathway that opened earlier this year.
Townsquare Media, the company behind the Insane Inflatable 5K, came across Commons Park while scouting for a new site in Palm Beach County after using Palm Beach International Raceway last year. A survey of Google Maps and local parks brought the team to the fields and walkways of Commons Park, Townsquare Media event director Kane Rowell said.
“They had never really held an event similar to ours,” he said.
When Townsquare first met with the village about using Commons Park, the new course was still under construction. In a presentation about the Insane Inflatable 5K to the Royal Palm Beach village council last month, Parks and Recreation Director Lou Recchio said the event’s organizers saw the potential in the pathway, which runs through the north end of Commons Park.
“It just fits the program perfectly,” he said.
While smaller 5Ks have been held on the course, Commons Park community and cultural events superintendent Carlos Morales said this will be the largest. “Our park is built perfectly for these events,” Morales said. “I think it looks like a lot of fun.”
The obstacles include massive blow-up slides that runners scamper up before plunging down the other side. One popular obstacle is called “the big balls,” where runners are pummeled with inflatable balls as they run through an enclosed area, Rowell said.
“By no means is this 5K one that you need to be scared of or nervous about,” he added. “It’s simply for fun.”
The event started with about 20 events in the U.S. in 2014, Rowell said. It’s grown to multiple events throughout the country each weekend and about 120 total this year.
Runners tackle the course in half-hour waves, with the first group leaving the starting line at 8:30 a.m. and the last at 11 a.m. Registration is $65 until Saturday, when the price goes up to $75.
Rowell said the obstacles draw runners of every experience level who are looking for a unique challenge. “There are some obstacles where you have to duck under things, and roll over things, and work over these little barriers,” he said. “They all create their own challenge but they’re all very doable.”
There are no time-keepers at this 5K, and the distance is loosely interpreted: The vertical height of the obstacles doesn’t count toward the overall length of the run.
“You may have some people who maybe run a 25-minuted 5K, and it might take them 30 minutes or a little bit longer even,” Rowell said.
But beating a personal-best time isn’t the point.
“It creates an environment where someone can come out and have a good time,” he said.