General Information

For all things Contender...

  • Can I skip an obstacle? Is there a penalty?

    The Contender is designed for you to reach deep into yourself, but absolutely never to a point where you are meant to feel ashamed or punished for not doing something. Contending is about growth, teamwork & fellowship.

    Designed to Challenge
    The obstacles on the Contender course are all designed to challenge you in different ways: confined spaces, heights, physical stamina and, of course, teamwork skills. The feeling of overcoming a fear, especially when there is teamwork involved, has long lasting effects on your life. We like to say that there is something for everyone.

    Contending Together
    It’s about the personal transformations that happen out there. When we are scared, intimidated, and overwhelmed and yet still make it through obstacles? It flips a switch in your mind; all the other challenges you may face in your daily life suddenly take on a much lower stress level. All you need is a little help from your friends. The Contender community is the most supportive group of people your will meet.

    Believe in Yourself
    The obstacles may be tough, but they are not impossible. Be open to new challenges and never feel like you “have” to do anything you are not 100 percent sure about. You'll meet other who will lend you a hand, knee, or simply motivation to help you achieve all that you are capable of! A bypass is available for most obstacles.

  • What type of obstacles are there?

    The 2023 Contender OCR 5K will feature 12 forward momentum obstacles. Check out our Obstacles Page for a complete list with all the juicy details.

  • Are there water and aid stations on the course?

    We have water and aid stations through out the course. We do not provide food or gels, so please plan to bring your own. Contenders are encouraged to bring camelbaks or water bottles to address their personal needs throughout the course. When in doubt, bring it.

  • What about the weather on event day?

    Generally speaking, we Contend in rain or shine, heat or snow.

    In order for us to cancel or postpone an event, we must be experiencing severe weather such as a tornado, forest fire, flood, blizzard, etc. So, if you get up and it is pouring rain, we are Contending. If it is snowing, we are Contending. If it is hot, we are Contending. If it is cold, we are Contending. Please plan to dress accordingly and use your judgment regarding your personal limitations.

    If for some reason we must cancel an event due to uncontrollable weather conditions emails will be sent to all registered Contenders and announcements will be made on our website and through social networking channels.

  • What should I wear?

    While you can wear almost anything we have a few tips:

    • Avoid cotton whenever possible.

    • Trail running shoes and lightweight apparel that drains well; remember, it's likely you will be soaking wet and/or muddy.

    • Check the weather for race day and dress accordingly.

    • New shoes on race day are NOT recommended. Race in what you train in.

    • Remember this is a family event, and indecent clothing is prohibited.

    • Bring a towel and change of clothes.

    P.S. We will have a changing tent!

  • What if there is a water obstacle and I can't swim?

    The Contender 5K has water obstacles. Most will be in water shallow enough to walk through, however, there will be a 120' section that is waist deep. A bypass is available.

  • Where can I find medical help at the event?

    There are numerous medical volunteers at the event. If you get injured or have a medical emergency, staff and volunteers are standing by to radio our medical team for immediate assistance. Additionally, a medical tent is available in the festival area near check-in/registration.

  • Is there a time limit?

    The Contender 5K does not have a time limit, per se. Some Contenders will finish the 3.1 miles much faster while other may take a little longer. The important part it to sign up, show up, and don't give up!

  • Is the Contender a race?

    Yes and no. The Contender 5K is a personal challenge with the goal of overcoming obstacles and completing the course. You are free to take as much time as you need to complete an obstacle. For those Contenders interested in competition, we have a running clock and awards will be given for various age groups and the top male/female overall. Friendly competition or a personal challenge? It's up to you!

  • Our Course Design

    Course Design
    Contenders 5K Race unlike any other. We've included a few forward momentum obstacles that keep you moving but challenge you in ways not typical of any other 5K race. Check out the 2023 Interactive Course Map For GPX data click here.

  • How long is the Contender?

    We designed the 5K course (3.1 miles) to include half a dozen or so obstacles. The course is 2 loops. Some Contenders will finish much faster while other may take a little longer.

  • Is there a minimum age to complete the Contender?

    Yes. Contender participants must be at least 10 years old.

  • Why is this event called, "The Contender?"

    A true contender vigorously endeavors to win the competition, not holding anything back. Jude exhorts the church to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3). In other words, the victory does not come without contending. In a practical sense, what does it mean to contend for the faith? Find out here.

  • How do I get photos from the event?

    On-site photography
    Individual/team finisher photos can be purchased for a small fee through our event photographer, Tate Tipton Photography. Check out their tent in the festival area.

    Social media
    Additionally, we will also be posting our own pictures and video on our social media channels.

    Share your pics
    We would love to see you pictures! Use the hashtag "#contender5k" or "wildernessMENistry" to tag your photo.

  • Are food and drinks available?

    A variety of vendors will be set up at the event including food and drinks for a small fee.

I'm ready to contend!

Event Day

You signed up, you counted down the days, and it's finally here. Now what?

  • Directions & Parking

    Event Address: 300 Prater Lake Rd NE Calhoun, GA 30701

    60 min from Atlanta: Get on I-75 North. Take exit 315 right on 156 E/Red Bud Rd. Continue 2 miles on GA-156 E/Red Bud Rd. Turn right onto Prater Lake Rd NE. Follow parking signs.
    45 min from Chattanooga: Get on I-75 South. Take exit 315 left on 156 E/Red Bud Rd. Continue 2 miles on GA-156 E/Red Bud Rd. Turn right onto Prater Lake Rd NE. Follow parking signs.

    Follow our signs and volunteers to the parking lot. Lock your vehicle and only bring what you need.
    IMPORTANT NOTE: The Calhoun Moose Lodge has graciously allowed us to use their parking lot to accommodate the large number of vehicles. Please be respectful of their facility and pick up any loose trash that may have fallen out of your vehicle.

  • Event Schedule
    EVENT DATE:Fall of 2024
    Volunteer/Vendor Check-In7:00 AM
    *Registration/Check-In7:30 AM
    Event Start9:00 AM
    Awards11:30 AM

    *Registration/Check-In ends at 8:15 AM

  • Will there be an awards ceremony?

    Yes. Awards will be given to the:

    • Top 3 Overall Male/Female

    • Top 3 Male/Female finishers in the following age groups: 14-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50+

    * The top 3 overall will be pulled from their age groups and automatically be placed in their respective category. (No double awards)

  • Lost and Found

    If you have lost an item during an event, please click the below link to fill out the Lost and Found form. Please include as much detail as possible. If your item has been found, we will reach out to you via email. Lost and Found Form

    Please note: Items left past 90 days of your event will be given to a local donation center.

  • When should I arrive and what do I do when I get there?

    NOTE: We suggest arriving a minimum of 30 minutes prior to your scheduled start time.

    Once you arrive on site...
    1. Proceed to the registration table with your photo ID and registration receipt.
    2. One of our awesome volunteers will:

    • check you in,

    • provide you with your bib number and race packet,

    • write your number on your arms and/or attach the wristband to your wrist,
    3. If you choose, drop your stuff at the "BAG CHECK" tent for safekeeping.
    4. Head to the "START" line.
    5. Have a great race!

  • Spectator Guide

    Spectators are allowed in free of charge. There is no spectator age limit.

    You will have viewing access to many of the obstacles, the start and finish line, the vendor tents, and hot food for sale on the grounds. Enjoying music, watching your friends and loved ones slip and slide through the Contender course, free muddy hugs from Contender athletes and all the other spectator perks make spectating all worthwhile. The next ticket you will want to buy will be a race entry.

    That's great, but can I get on the course to watch my racer?

    Spectators are not allowed to roam the course outside of the festival area. The festival area is situated within sight of several obstacles where you can take photos of your family and friends. Additionally, spectators must remain off the course, 15 feet from all obstacles and cannot assist Contender athletes in completing an obstacle.

    What can I bring into the race with me?

    Outside food, drinks, large coolers, and large tents are not allowed. You are welcome to bring folding chairs, backpacks, etc. Use of alcoholic beverages, intoxicants, illegal substances and glass beverage containers are prohibited. Please be advised we are a smoke-free facility.

  • Underage Children

    All children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Leaving your child unattended while you are racing will result in you being pulled off the course and asked to leave, and may result in a permanent ban from all future Contender events.

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Important Permit Information
• Permits are only valid during our posted Hours of Operation
• Permits are non-refundable
• One permit required per household
• Permit must be visibly displayed
• Failure to abide by our posted Rules and Regulations may result in permit revocation
• Permit not valid for group events
• Guests must Check-In each visit
Important Permit Information
• Permits are only valid during our posted Hours of Operation
• Permits are non-refundable
• One permit required per household
• Permit must be visibly displayed
• Failure to abide by our posted Rules and Regulations may result in permit revocation
• Permit not valid for group events
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