Do you love to play outside? Are you always looking for the next challenge or surprise?

Then Taelin Free believes he has something that is right up your alley: the Awesome Warrior Challenge.

The Awesome Warrior Challenge is a 3-km trail run with over 30 obstacles. It incorporates core strength, balance, stamina, agility and cardio.

It has some mud, things to climb over, climb under and climb around—plus a few surprises for the mind as well as the body.

“It will test one’s will and imagination, even their intuition,” Free promises.

The concept for the challenge came from Free’s interests in personal growth, which he has delved into extensively and even written a book about, The Power of Focus.

“There is a philosophical element to the Awesome Warrior Challenge, a personal growth aspect if you will,” he says.

“The obstacle course is a mirror of life. We are born with a journey to live life. Each person must overcome the obstacles in life itself, but more importantly the obstacles going on between the ears.

“We are responsible for taking the steps we need to inspire ourselves, then experience those choices and celebrate the results,” he adds.

This philosophy led to the birth of the Awesome Warrior Challenge and is directly reflected in the event’s motto: Inspire. Xperience. Celebrate.

Free’s background helped him develop the physical aspects of the challenge.

“I have a martial arts background and worked on small obstacle courses in my training,” he explains.

“In the last few years I’ve noticed the huge groundswell of interest for people to test themselves in new ways—one being obstacle courses. I thought it would be great to put one on for Yukoners.”

The aim was to build obstacles that require strength and speed, but also require thought.

“That’s why some involve imagination, intuition and the aspect of surprise. So it is a mental, emotional and physical event.”

For those who don’t feel quite ready to test themselves this year, the opportunity to come and check out the event is still available.

“Most of the outside athletic events in Whitehorse, with the exception of soccer and baseball, are endurance, and take the participants into the woods, along the river or down the road. So no one sees the athletes after the start, until they finish,” Free suggests.

“The Awesome Warrior Challenge has a trail aspect to it to, but it also has an obstacle area close enough for spectators to see the athletes showcase their skills.”

Free is encouraging anyone with an interest to become one of those athletes wowing the crowd.

“All levels of fitness can do this. There is no need to race a clock, although those who want to can. For the rest, just testing yourself to overcome the obstacles is enough of a fun challenge.”

Free hopes this year’s event will be the first of many.

“I envision this as an annual event, but one that is versatile enough to be taken to other small communities throughout the territory.”

The course, which is being kept a closely-guarded secret until the day before the event, is currently under construction.

“The terrain is challenging and the course is shaping up with some really great obstacles,” Free says.

“Did I mention that one is even a small maze for competitors to navigate? The athletes are going to love it.”

Registration for the Saturday, August 4 event is being taken at Waterstone Products (633-3183). Participants must be at least 13 years old.

“As long as everyone has a great time, is challenged in their mental, emotional and physical comfort zones and they dig deep and step up, I’ll be jazzed,” Free says.

“If the athletes enjoy themselves—and they will—next year will be even more amazing,” he adds.

“If you’ve ever wanted to explore your mind and body in ways that you’ve really only seen on TV or the movies, then come on out, because I’ve got some surprises for you.”

Amber Church is a painter, writer and sports enthusiast. You can reach her at sports@whatsupyukon.com.