Caveman Crawl to challenge runners

By | Published Thursday, June 10, 2010

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As a competitive athlete and adventure lover, Jonathan Cortez wanted to create an event tough enough to challenge the heartiest of athletes.

With a course featuring dashes up and down hills, through mud pits, ponds and mazes of tires and wooden spools, he is well on his way with the first Caveman Crawl Saturday, June 12, at Bridgeport’s Northwest OHV Park.

“I’m trying to make it hard for the people that want it hard,” Cortez said.

More than 500 athletes from all across Texas and neighboring states have signed up to run through Cortez’ devilish 5K maze that includes 17 obstacles. Along with the 5K off-road course, there will be 50-yard and mile events for kids.

Cortez, who owns Edge Fitness in Bridgeport, initially expected a much smaller turnout for the event.

“We expected 200 for the first event, and we blew past that,” he said. “We went to all the 5Ks in the Metroplex. Facebook has been our No. 1 tool for spreading the word. It’s easily going to be the biggest event of its kind in Wise County.

“It keeps growing and growing. Now, we’ve got a show to put on.”

The popularity of the Warrior Dash and Mud Run, other adventure races in the area, has helped fuel interest in the Caveman Crawl.

Cortez took part in the Warrior Dash in early May near Forney. Even with its mudpits and jumps over fire, he was left wanting more. He tried to fill that void for adventure on his own course.

“The Warrior Dash was easy,” Cortez said. “This course will be significantly more difficult.”

The Northwest OHV Park’s rugged hills, ponds and water crossings provide the perfect site for Cortez to make a course.

“We’re lucky to have such natural terrain for obstacles,” Cortez said.

The nearly 1,000 acres, which includes a vast area for off-road vehicles, is owned by the City of Bridgeport. Cortez received permission to use the property for the Caveman Crawl from the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation as a means to promote the park.

The area was in need of work before holding an event. Cortez, with help of family members in the construction business, has been on the property for the past week with backhoes and other heavy equipment building the course.

“I’m mostly excited about building the course,” Cortez said. “This is playtime. I’ve been working on this for six months.”

He’s already designed several different courses as he’s found new obstacles on the property. He’s also been forced to scale back some of his original plans.

“I’ve had to take a few things out because friends said it was too hard,” Cortez said.

For the 5K there will be categories – competitive and just for fun. Neither event will be timed.

The top three finishers in the competitive category will receive medals. The competitive athletes will have to go through all 17 obstacles or they will be disqualified.

The athletes in the just-for-fun race will be allowed to do the “walk-of-shame” around obstacles.

No matter the race, participants are sure to get muddy, sweaty and challenged.

After the race, there will be barbecue and inflatable water slides and obstacle courses for children and adults.

For information, visit

Let’s run together

A three-mile social run for runners at all levels will be held each Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Wise County Messenger parking lot on Pecan Street. Water is provided. For information, send e-mail to

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