Mike Vaules started the Memorial Beach Challenge because he wants people to understand the cost of freedom.
The 2.7 military-style obstacle course run takes place Saturday May 28 at 8 a.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier. Now in its fourth year, the event has raised more than $150,000 with all proceeds benefitting the 31 Heroes Project. 31 Heroes supports military families and raises awareness of the incredible sacrifice of our military personnel and their families to ensure our freedom.
This year’s event could push the total amount of funds raised over the $200,000 mark, Vaules said.
An opening ceremony for the race will take place at 7:30 a.m. featuring a color guard and bagpipers. At the conclusion of the race, a moving ceremony will take place to honor those who made the supreme sacrifice.
Emcee for the event is Ryan Peters, a Naval Academy grad and veteran of multiple combat tours in Afghanistan.
The soft sand “adventure run” features U.S. Navy Seal-approved obstacles including cross-fit stations, a “plunge pit” that will leave the rarticipants sandy and wet, balance beam, two sand mountains to climb and two new “surprise obstacles.”
“We want to give people some idea of what our military goes through every day,” Vaules said.
He expects approximately 600 adult racers to take part and 250 children.
The course starts at the Music Pier and proceeds in a Northerly direction to 6th Street. There, the field turns around and heads South to 15th, turns again and heads back to finish at the Pier.
“The goal of the event is two-fold,” Vaules said. “First we want to honor al of the military veterans for their service to our country. And with the kids race, we want to remind the next generation that there is a price to pay for all of the fun things we do over Memorial Day weekend.”
Vaules, who grew up in Ocean City and now lives in Moorestown and has a summer home in Ocean City, founded the race with wife Amie and his friend Patrick Gill. The first one took place at North Street beach and attracted approximately 400, and it has grown ever since.
“We could not have the event without the help we have received from the city of Ocean City,” he said. “We do this event with the full support of the city and they have been incredible.”
For more information, visit the event’s website, www.memorialbeachchallenge.com or its Facebook page.
“There are numerous ways people can help us out,” Vaules said. “ In addition to runners, we welcome contributions, volunteers and sponsors. Or just come out and watch and cheer for the runners.”