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Gadsden’s annual extreme competition set for South’s most scenic obstacle course

GADSDEN – Thrill-seeking athletes who are not afraid of getting muddy, wet and pushed to the limit will be taking part in Gadsden’s Barbarian Challenge, a six-mile obstacle course run through scenic Noccalula Falls Park.

The annual extreme competition is set for June 15. Registration is open at www.barbarianchallenge.com and contestants will want to take note of a new grand prize giveaway at this year’s event.

The Barbarian Challenge course is approximately six miles long and includes more than 20 natural and challenging human-made obstacles and tough terrain. The course takes participants into the Black Creek Gorge and up close and personal with Noccalula Falls. It is considered one of the south’s most scenic obstacle course race. The festival area and start/finish lines will be by the waterfall area and not on the traditional battlefield.

New this year is the Barbarian Challenge Grand Prize Giveaway, sponsored by Greater Gadsden Area TourismNoccalula Falls Park and Downtown Gadsden, Inc.

“To encourage people to book lodging in Etowah County and make a weekend of it, we are giving them some incentive,” said Tina Morrison, executive director for Greater Gadsden Area Tourism. “Registrants who show their Etowah County lodging receipt at check-in this year will be entered into the Barbarian Challenge Grand Prize Giveaway for 2025.”

The grand prize is free entry into the 2025 Barbarian Challenge donated by Noccalula Falls Park, a two-night stay donated by Greater Gadsden Area Tourism and River Rocks Landing and a $200 gift certificate to spend in downtown Gadsden donated by Downtown Gadsden, Inc.

Race or “horde” times are at 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. for competitors and 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. and for non-competitors. All finishers receive a Barbarian medal. The overall female and male winners from the 8 a.m. horde will receive a custom Barbarian battle ax. The awards ceremony will start at approximately noon and there will be food, drink and beer vendors during the event.

The Barbarian Challenge is for those 13 years old and older. Anyone under the age of 15 must have a parent or guardian present to sign a consent waiver and run with them.

The smallest barbarians can participate in the Kid’s Barbarian Challenge competition, sponsored by The Factory Gadsden, from 8-11 a.m. The race is open to kids 5 to 12 years old and is approximately .6 miles and includes mud. Finishers receive a medal, t-shirt and goody bag that are pre-registered.

Registration is available on race day (t-shirts may or may not be available at this time). Participants must show up an hour before desired horde time to register on race day. Packet pick up and race day registration will be in the Kiwanis Pavilion. Registration fees are:

  • Through May 15: $60 non-competitive/$70 competitive
  • May 16–June 12: $75 non-competitive/$85 competitive
  • June 12–Race Day 2024: $85 non-competitive/$95 competitive

A packet pick-up party will be 5-8 p.m. June 14 at the Kiwanis Pavilion at Noccalula Falls Park. Barbarian Challenge and Kid’s Barbarian Challenge participants can pick up their race packets and visit with other competitors.

Set for Noccalula Falls Park, the Barbarian Challenge is organized and staged by the City of Gadsden’s Parks and Recreation Department and is presented by Greater Gadsden Area Tourism. Pets are not allowed and the event is held rain or shine. Admission and parking are free to spectators.

For more information, visit www.barbarianchallenge.com, follow at https://www.facebook.com/barbarianchallenge or call Christina Richardson with City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation at 256-549-4663 ext. 3.

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