Olivia Moe

Managing Editor

“I have a dad that smokes cigarettes and I can see first hand what it does to your health,” said recent University Partnership graduate, Dylan Kadow. “My career revolves around not smoking and lung health.”

Kadow is founder of the Huff and Puff obstacle race and festival that takes place on May 21 at Klingshirn Winery in Avon Lake. This second annual race hopes to promote and encourage community residents to take their health into consideration. The hope is to also have the community begin to improve both their physical health as well as their level of education regarding their everyday choices concerning their health, including those that are related to smoking.

The race itself was inspired by a class assignment and his personal life. “I was class president of the BGSU Respiratory Care Program through the University Partnership at LCCC, and one of my duties was to make sure my classmates completed their required amount of community service,” Kadow explained. “I thought it would be cool to put on a fund raiser for something respiratory related, so I combined the idea of putting on a race and donating to the American Lung Association,” he continued. “A regular 5k race just didn’t see to do it for me, and being a mud/obstacle race runner myself, I thought ‘Let’s put on a mud run,’” Kadow said.

The Huff and Puff Fun Obstacle Run is a well rounded race for all types of participants. There are a variety of obstacles, each that require different skill levels to get through. If participants have trouble with an obstacle, no worries, said Kadow. “No one is required to do an obstacle,” he said. “If they do not feel comfortable completing one, they can simply go around.” Kadow explained.

For the higher skill level obstacles, if participants choose to go around, there will be sit-ups or push-ups to replace that obstacle.

The obstacles include a 12′ rope wall, 10′ tire wall, 9′ vertical wall, 24′ long monkey bars over a mud pit, a quagmire, river crossings, woods run, hill climbs, trench and net crawl, pallet climbs, slanted wall climbs, mud pits, water plunges, and mud slides.

Building  the race from the ground up was just as difficult as completing it. “I originally had no clue what I was undertaking,” Kadow said. “Making this a reality was the hardest and greatest accomplishment I had ever done to this point. It started with creating my own business and understanding all of the responsibilities that come with it,” he continued. “An enormous amount of paperwork, taxes, budgeting, and organization. Then there is planning of the actual event of course,” Kadow said.

Finding a location was almost as difficult, Kadow explained. “Being a high risk event, most companies are cautious when agreeing to something like this,” he said. “Some won’t even look in your direction or respond or [they] wait until the last minute to respond.”

Kadow considers himself lucky for knowing the owner of  Klingshirn Winery, who agreed to host the race.

“I have worked there the past three years,” Kadow said. “He allows me to run on his land and use his farm tools to help build the course. I did need to get permission by the city and three other companies for the race, because the race will run on their land as well,” he said.

Despite the difficulties, Kadow has had an immense amount of help from the community, friends, and family to construct, fund, and promote the race.

The festival portion will be taking place at the end of the race, giving local vendors and outreach programs the opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle.

A DJ, food trucks, fitness challenges for prizes, inflatables, raffle baskets, beer and wine will all be a part of the festival. Spectators are encouraged to attend, as admission is free. Parking, transportation, baggage holds, and showers are free, as well.

Participants and spectators should expect a personal experience when attending the event. “The event is designed for the people,” Kadow said. “I had created this event from what I liked from the other events I have attended.”

Kadow, who is working towards his Bachelor’s degree, will then apply to Physician Assistant School at Oregon Health & Science University for his Masters degree. He hopes that the race will grow in the future, as a state and national event. “We hope to make an impact on the community and reach people of all backgrounds. We hope to encourage a healthy lifestyle and encourage people to overcome obstacles of all types,” Kadow said.

Matt Aussem, a finance major at Lorain County Community College and member of the Student Senate, also plays a role as a chair member of the Huff and Puff event, whose main responsibilities include handling the financial aspects of the business.

“He has more of a medical background, I have more of a business and marketing background. I make sure that the organizational stuff is done properly,” Aussem explained.

Aussem will run the race and hopes to do a fair amount of networking with other local start-up businesses once the race is complete. “We really want to get the community involved. I highly encourage everyone to show up and enjoy themselves either during the race or at the festival,” Aussem said. “Besides the money going to the American Lung Association to help eliminate public smoking and the promotion of the local start-up businesses we just want everyone to have fun,” he added.

All proceeds raised will go to fund medical research that will eventually cure various diseases. It is the only 100% nonprofit obstacle racing company in the United States.  “It all starts with a life changing experience and we hope Huff and Puff is that experience,” added Kadow.

Kadow is  working with the United States Obstacle Course Racing (USOCR), a company designed to promote, logistically plan, and further business for obstacle course races. “I plan for my race to increase to a couple events annually, then eventually multi-state,” Kadow said. “We are already planning a second race for each year. This will be a zombie obstacle adventure run in the fall time. This run goes to a great cause and we want everyone to be here to make a difference,” he explained.

For more information or to register or volunteer, go to huffandpuffracing.org. or visit them on Facebook at: “Huff and Puff Fun Obstacle Run”. More information can also be found by emailing dylan@huffandpuffracing.org or by calling 440-787-6146.