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Ruff Fitness 'fun'draiser benefits Girls on the Run and HEAL

March 23, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Ann Fulton, left, poses with the Ruff Fitness adventure checkpoint #4 at the Burger King on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown as her teammate Ginny Kay Durham takes a picture on her cellphone Saturday morning.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

Passers-by of the bridge over Hamilton Run near Northern Middle School on Saturday morning might have been reminded of the fairy tale “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.”

Repeatedly, pairs and small groups of people approached the bridge with great care and caution. Most crossed over the bridge, then ventured guardedly to the swampy banks beneath.

As it turned out, they were not looking out for a greedy troll who might gobble them up, but for a paper sign indicating a checkpoint. And if a troll had been lurking, hoping for larger, plumper prey, he would not have found it here. The more than 30 people crossing the bridge were lean competitors in the Ruff Fitness Adventure Challenge.

Participants arrived at Ruff Fitness at Fountainhead Plaza by 8 a.m. to receive a list of checkpoints for a scavenger hunt of sorts. They had four minutes to consider a route and to set off on the hunt. At each checkpoint, they took a picture on their cellphones and sent it to Ruff Fitness co-owner Dave Ruff, who remained at the studio.

Kay Harrison of Hagerstown, who trains at Ruff Fitness and managed the checkpoint near Northern Middle School, noted an array of approaches to the challenge. One team sauntered around looking for the checkpoint under the bridge, when another pair ran in, snapped the picture, shouted, “We got it,” and sprinted away.

“Some are just having fun and making the best of this. Others are very competitive,” Harrison said.

The pair who sprinted off, Laura Carpenter, 41, of Hagerstown, and Shana Ruff, 27, also of Hagerstown, ultimately took first place in the challenge. Shana Ruff, Dave Ruff’s daughter, said she grew up doing “all kinds of different and fun things to stay active and fit.”

“But I definitely think this is one of the most fun things that I’ve done,” Ruff said.

Dave Ruff said fitness has to be fun.

“We like to bring the things people would have fun doing, the things they normally wouldn’t do,” he said.

Ruff said the race, using the best routes, was around 3.5 to four miles. For some who got lost, it was much longer.

Second-place winners Ann Fulton and Ginny Kay Durham said they ran across the Fountain Head Country Club golf course.

“We used backyards and went over a wire fence. I tried to go through some brush, but it didn’t feel very safe and those were Dave’s last words. ‘Stay safe,’” Durham said.

Ann Fulton’s daughter, Claire Fulton, 14, also ran the challenge.

Rob Flint, 40, and his wife, Shannon Flint, 39, of Hagerstown, ran with their children, Ryan, 11, Emma, 9, and Jack, 6. The couple said they began working out together about a year ago. Shannon Flint registered the family for the race in hopes that they would find all of the checkpoints and finish. To her surprise, they finished fifth of 15 teams.

“The kids actually led most of the way,” Rob Flint said. “Toward the end, it was hard for them to get to the finish. But they did it.”

Top finishers earned gift certificates for local goods and services.

The event was a fundraiser to benefit Girls on the Run, an organization that uses running to inspire health and confidence, and HEAL of Washington County, a program to reduce and prevent obesity. Ruff said around $1,500 would be split between the groups.

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