XCX: Not Your Usual Race
Competitors in Cross Country Extreme, or XCX, run anything but a normal race.
"We want an event that's a little different than your average 5k running race on the road," said XCX organizer Stephen Taylor. "We want something that really challenges you outside of what you would normally do even for a normal exercise program, and get out and really experience the elements and push your body to the limit."
Experiencing the elements means navigating a course with plenty of man-made and natural obstacles.
"I try not to disturb the natural terrain much, but rather go with it and, also, big challenges."
The race attracts a different athlete.
"We had some high school runners here, and I was running with them and they said 'Wow! This is extreme!' So, you know, bloody knees, muddy shoes, wet shoes is an expected part of this course," Taylor explained.
"There were no paths at all. It was pretty much the woods, and you just had to go and try to find your way."
XCX runner John Brown added, "There was a ditch there and you had to get a little rope to get up. And I saw the website and I was like 'Ah, you know, it's not going to be a big deal, I'll be able to get up it no problem.' But, no. I had to use the rope."
And if that's not enough.
"I'd say the costume contest kind of enticed me to pick this one," Brown said.
For whatever reason, this race also features a costume contest. XCX provides great fun for a great cause.
"This is a benefit for the Mizzou Children's Hospital, so we work with publicizing their program for pediatric diabetes."
XCX even has special rules in case of a tie.
"Since they crossed the line together, we're going to do rock, paper, scissors to determine who gets first place."
Runners and race organizers are already planning for next year's XCX in early December.