Obstacle course nears completion

A balance beam is one of many different workouts to try in Independence.

Photo by Lukas Eggen.
A balance beam is one of many different workouts to try in Independence.

INDEPENDENCE — A 1.5-mile obstacle course stretching from the Independence Dog Park around the soccer fields is nearing completion.

Installation of fitness stations began earlier this year and Justin Hedlund, a project coordinator, expects the rest of the stations to be finished later this year.

“I hoped to have it completed last month, but it has been a much longer process than anticipated,” Hedlund said. “At this point, I would say it is about 60 percent complete.”

Once fully finished, the course will feature 12 fitness stations that will challenge those looking to spice up their run or walk in the park.

Hedlund said, to date, the balance beam, hand-over-hand ladder, vault walls, over-under logs, parallel bars, and push-ups/pull-ups/rows have been installed.

“There has also been a considerable amount of work done to spread chip mulch along the trail,” Hedlund said.

The tires for the tire flip and tire agility stations, box jumps, lateral hop, lateral run and burpee/crunch stations still need to be completed.

The final piece will be course signage in English and Spanish and include a QR code for video examples.

Hedlund was chosen to help lead the project, with the goal of offering a fitness trail system where people of varying experience and ability could get in a good, but challenging workout.

He reached out to a small group in the community to figure out what they wanted to see in the fitness course.

“I specifically worked with the folks at Crossfit Kiowa, PT Northwest and Independence Curves to refine ideas for the course, and are still working with them to get the course completed,” Hedlund said.

That feedback continues to help Hedlund as the project nears its completion.

“I would love to say it will be done by the end of August, but it has been a project that has taken considerably longer than I had anticipated on both the construction as well as the administrative portion of the project,” Hedlund said.

Once completed, the trail will offer a workout that can change each time you try it, and Hedlund can’t wait for the community to see the finished project.

“I would have to say that probably my favorite part isn’t even out there yet, and it would be the tire flip station,” he said. “I’m not sure what it is, but grabbing a hold of a big tractor tire and flipping it over is just fun.”

Hedlund’s hope is the course can be part of a bigger movement to make Independence — and Polk County — a more attractive place to live.

“I think it’s important to the city to showcase what we have to offer and to make our city and the surrounding communities a better, healthier place to live and work,” Hedlund said.

The goal is to get people out more and finding ways to get them to become more active than before.

“I hope this course gets people of all ages and abilities out and enjoying fitness,” he said. “I know that for me, running on a treadmill or using an elliptical is one of the worst fitness experiences imaginable. ... You can do as many or as few of the stations as you want and you can run around it as many times as you want, while mixing up the stations to keep your workout interesting.” 

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