Beast on the Bay's Adaptive Course is One of a Kind: Community Gems
While most people flock to Presque Isle the second Saturday in September for the 10-mile Beast on the Bay course, the adapted course is really the "heart and soul" of the event.
"The adaptive course is really the reason we've done this event," said Nicole Kress, event coordinator.
The adapted course happens at the same time as the 10-mile course, but it's set up at Waldameer's Water World.
"The one-mile adapted course is fully adaptable with anyone with a wheelchair or intellectual disabilities," said Kress. There are over 15 obstacles, and our participants absolutely love it."
"They get to do a course and overcome obstacles of their own and still cross the same finish line as those competing in the 10-mile course," said Kress.
This will be participant Blaize Cheeseman's 5th year taking on that adapted course.
"He loves the event," said Kress. "He's also into martial arts and swimming, so it's right up his alley. It's really cool to see a direct impact of someone who does the event."
The adapted course is the only course of its kind in the country.
"We've looked far and wide to see if there's anything similar, and really, I don't think there's anything that's close," said Kress.
For Kress and crew, it's about more than raising money for the Barber National Institute, but more about showing the community what those they support can do, rather than can't.
"I always get emotional at the finish line because it really is a direct correlation to what we do and what we support and those we support with our mission," said Kress. "[It's] honestly incredible; it's such a fun experience."
Proceeds from this year's Beast on the Bay, which is now in its 10th year, will go toward renovations of the community pool, a favorite at the Barber National Institute.
There's still time to sign up for the 10-mile Beast course or the one-mile adapted course online here.