Mud, obstacles, and comradery were all things to be expected in this years’ Gorilla Dash 5k.
Arranged by Pittsburg State University’s ROTC, the seventh annual Gorilla Dash took place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at the Baja location, East Centennial Drive.
The obstacle course was in honor of Sergent First Class (SFC) Forrest Robertson, a former PSU military science instructor and alumnus who was killed in Afghanistan in November 2013. The $25 per person registration proceeds went to the SFC Forrest Robertson Scholarship.
“…This is in honor of him and his memory and also for his legacy of that scholarship,” said Wyatt Charles Pressnell, senior in psychology and baton commander for Pitt State ROTC. “… and the proceeds all go into the Sergeant First Class Forrest Robertson fund which is then transferred into a scholarship for incoming cadets.”
The course consisted of over 30 obstacles, created by ROTC juniors and seniors, that needed to be navigated.
“Every year, the juniors and seniors work together to come up with obstacles, with the course itself then resource build and assemble the course,” Pressnell said. “It’s all done within our program.”
The course was open to individuals of all skill levels and ages 14 and up. Many participants were Pittsburg community members and Pitt State alumni.
John Tyler Shafer, PSU alumnus, first saw the obstacle course advertised on a flyer in the library before deciding to join with a team.
“It seemed really cool and it was for a good cause,” Shafer said. “I’ve done mud runs before and I wanted to do another one.”
Shafer, who currently serves in the Kansas National Guard, said he has done other mud runs and obstacle courses and always appreciates the comradery and teamwork needed and developed throughout the run.
“I love the obstacle at the end where you have to help each other out because you get to use teamwork, it’s fun to work together,” he said. “(I love) how friendly everyone is, helping each other out, and it brings the Pittsburg community together, students, kids, alumni, everyone.”
Nicole Dickey, Pittsburg community member and former PSU athlete was interested in the run after hearing about the cause.
“I love the obstacle races, they’re really fun, and it’s for a good cause,” she said.
Dickey participated as part of a team and said they all thought the race was “fun”.
“This was a really fun race and it was a beautiful day, so I would definitely do it again”
Another purpose of the race was to get the name of ROTC out, so ROTC cadets volunteered at the course and also helped the runners navigate the course to help increase the visibility of the program.
“It was nice that all the ROTC students were lining the course, (they) kept us in line, and kind of kept our spirits up,” Dickey said.
According to Pressnell, most ROTC events are “in some way a recruiting event” and that he hopes participants were able to learn more about the program and their mission statements.
“We hope they have a great time,” Pressnell said. “We hope they get to know the ROTC program is out here… we want people to know we’re here and what we stand for but also, it’s to honor Sargent Robertson and it’s also to help contribute to the education of other people who come in and aren’t scholarship cadets to help pay for their education and help them in the ROTC program.”