08 December, 2013 Gloria Lin Participants attempting to descend from the obstacle named "The Summit". (Photo taken by VOXSPORTS) Most people try to stay away from mud, dirt and the natural elements as much as possible. Unless all those above comes in the form of exhilarating obstacles and insane challenges, then - bring it on! That is exactly what Lion Dash 2013 offered to the throng of racers who gathered at Tampines Bike Park on 8 December. With various categories of racers aged from 14 - 59, participants from many walks of life didn’t seem put off by the extreme obstacles lying ahead. The Lion Dash comprised of 13 challenges, ranging from crawling through a mud pool to scaling great heights. This is in addition to the already tough terrain of the bike park, which is one of the roughest natural terrains in Singapore. With obstacle names like ‘Cliffhanger’ and ‘Trench Warfare’, racers know they are in for one tough race. These obstacles were created by the team to not only challenge racers - or ‘Lion Dashers’ - physically, but mentally as well. One example is the Ice Plunge challenge, which is a huge container filled with ice water that racers have to, well, plunge into. “This obstacle isn't very challenging physically but it is mentally challenging,” explains Lion Dash creator Adam Bauerly. “You have to overcome your fear of pain and discomfort to take the plunge into the icy water.” Lion Dash’s concept of conquering the elements was inspired from similar obstacle races in the United States, where Adam is from. One such race is the Warrior Dash, which was immensely successful in attracting participants who wouldn’t normally engage in running events due to its quirky nature. Likewise, local residents seem to have opened up towards more creative races in recent times, most notably the past couple of years. The Lion Dash itself debuted on our shores last year, with many participants returning this time around to battle the elements once again. Although it started out a little shakily last year due to administrative and logistics issues, repeat participants have expressed their satisfaction at the improvements made to the run. “After last year, my mates and I decided to give it another shot because we knew the event had potential,” said Paul Kemmett. “I'm glad we did as this morning was great fun... looking forward to next year's dash already.” Speaking about next year, the organisers are already looking forward to further enhancing the challenges to make the experience more exciting for everyone. This includes adding more obstacles, as well as upsizing them to become “bigger and better”. “Our goal with Lion Dash is to get people to do what they don't think they can do ,” says Adam. “Because you gain a tremendous amount of power and confidence when you overcome your fears and your doubts about yourself.” Looking at the faces of accomplishment at the finish line, this sure seems to be the case.