Pasco now has a new extreme adventure race to replace the popular Tough Mudder, which stopped running at the Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City after only one event.
It's called the Savage Race, and it's billed as an event with more boot camp-style obstacles per mile.
Tough Mudder's course was 12 miles long, but the Savage Race is only about 5 miles. Even so, the Oct. 20 event will feature more than 20 obstacles, including a fire jump, a mud pit, barbed wire and an ice bath.
"You're going to spend less time jogging and more time on obstacles," said organizer Sam Abbitt. Another difference: Participants are timed using special ankle bracelets with computer chips, while Tough Mudder is "more focused on teamwork and camaraderie."
Tough Mudder brought more than 18,000 participants to Little Everglades in December, the largest endurance race in the history of Florida. Though it drew rave reviews, the event and Little Everglades could not agree on a new contract and the race will move to Polk County this year.
Kevin Campbell, the event planner for the ranch, acknowledged that crowds for this fall's event might be smaller than Tough Mudder. (Organizers hope to attract at least 10,000 runners and spectators.) But Campbell said he expects the race to stick around for several years.
"There's the opportunity, if it goes well, to do a couple a year and have it on an ongoing basis," he said.
So far there have been two Savage Races, both in Clermont. In addition to Dade City, organizers hope to hold events this year in Atlanta and Austin, Texas.
Next year, there are plans for seven races across the country.
After the most recent Savage Race in March, the website Endurance Sports Florida said the event could take on the "Big Three" of endurance racing: Tough Mudder, Spartan Race and Warrior Dash.
"We took that as a huge compliment," Abbitt said.
Abbitt said Pasco's tourism department gave the event a $20,000 sponsorship grant that must be used on marketing to residents from outside the area.
Lee Logan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236.