RENO — What could be more fun than running through a 60-foot-long mud pit? Sliding down a 35-foot-high waterside before hand. The 9th annual Reno River Festival, with its cornerstone Run Amuck and SUP (Stand Up Paddle board) obstacle courses, kicks off today at Wingfield Park in downtown Reno.
The Run Amuck fun run, infused with its popular costume contest, has undergone changes to its format and obstacles this year, which include the removal of the previous relay format and the addition of a 35-foot waterside. On Saturday, the two-and-a-half-mile run will send runners from Wingfield Park to Idlewild Park, through its famous mud pit and 10 other “mystery obstacles.” Last year’s run saw more than 900 runners endure the obstacle course and left many of them begging for more challenges.
“Each year our runners demand more,” event director Ruth Gordon said. “This year is going to be harder, wetter, crazier and more fun than ever before.” The costume contest for the event will be judged before the race encouraging participants and teams to come cleverly dressed.
The SUP event has switched to a slalom race in the Truckee River’s north channel on a custom-created course. The paddle board event will be accompanied by the whitewater events of slalom, freestyle and Boatercross kayaking competitions, which will give participants a chance to collect $12,000 in total prize money.
The 2012 festival is also inviting new companions to the event. Reno River Festival will inaugurate its canine events and activities to accommodate the city’s love for their four-legged friends.
“Our audience is very outdoor-centric and with that comes a love of animals,” event owner Jim Bauserman said. Reno River Festival has instituted Splash Dogs and the Biggest Little Dog Jog, making the event a canine-friendly event.
Splash Dogs, which is a nationally recognized company, will coordinate dock jumping and diving events beginning on Saturday in Open and Lap Dog classes. The Biggest Little Dog Jog will give owners and their dogs a fun run through downtown Reno on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Outside of the event portion of the weekend, vendors and activity booths will line the streets surrounding Winfield and Idlewild parks. Children will have their own entertainment section featuring face painting and bounce houses, among other things. An Outdoor Expo will be set up for the duration of the event, featuring an array of outdoor products from name-brand companies and food and drink stands consisting of local favorites.
24-Hour Fitness will also be hosting a Yoga in the Park class for all ages. Attendees will be able to enjoy the morning sun from the grass near the Wingfield Amphitheater from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
On the entertainment side of things, live music will begin at about 1 p.m. each day at the Wingfield Amphitheater. Monophonics, Jelly Bread and the Mark Sexton Band are among the entertainers headlining this year’s event.
“Not only do we anticipate better, more consistent weather in June, we think that the new additions, combined with the already popular events, will be a welcome format for 2012,” Bauserman said.
The Run Amuck awards ceremony will be held Saturday at 4:45 p.m. The Splash Dogs awards ceremony will begin at about 4 p.m. on Sunday as will the awards ceremony for the whitewater events. and a full schedule of the weekend’s events can be found at www.renoriverfestival.com.