EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 8, 2012

Police to watch over runners, revelers at Rebel Race

Mayor promises 'close eye' on obstacle courses, party

By Shawn Regan sregan@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — City police officers will provide extra security at a weekend-long party starting tonight at Kimball Farm that includes overnight camping, a live concert and a series of “military-style” obstacle courses featuring fire pits and mud mountains.

Organizers said they expect several thousand people and up to 1,000 automobiles to converge on the eight-acre East Broadway farm for an event called Rebel Race, which has happened is various places around the country.

“The Rebel Race Series is designed for people feeling the urge to tackle intense obstacles,’’ reads promotional material on the race’s website.

Contestants and spectators have been invited to rent camp sites for the weekend and enjoy a beer and wine bar on the property from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow. The cross-country races are all day tomorrow and Sunday.

“Rebel Race is a weekend getaway for athletes who want to run a military-style 5k or 15k and then party like there’s no tomorrow,” according to the event’s website, which says recent events have been held in Maryland, Indiana, Dallas and New York.

“From start to finish, Rebel Race’s military obstacles will have you barricade-climbing, mud-crawling, rope-swinging and fire-jumping,” the promotional material reads. “Cross the finish line and bask in the glory of tons of beer, food, live entertainment and many new friends covered in mud.”

Kimball Farm is located at the rural east end of Haverhill, at the edge of the historic Rocks Village area.

Other than three detail officers, police Chief Alan DeNaro said his department has not taken any special precautions for the event because it is on private property.

“We have three detail officers that will respond to any situation that arises and a full complement of police and fire officers on duty,” DeNaro said in an email to The Eagle-Tribune. “We will be present to make sure everyone is safe.”

Mayor James Fiorentini said he asked police to keep a “close eye” on the event and to take “whatever action is necessary to make certain that the public and neighbors are protected.”

“After the event, we will evaluate so that our involvement in future events can be handled more efficiently,” the mayor said.

Tyler Kimball, a veteran Haverhill firefighter and the local farmer hosting the event, said he’ll be monitoring activity on his property closely to make sure there are no problems.

“I have to make sure this goes well because we don’t want to ruin it for anyone else who wants to do something like this in Haverhill in the future,” Kimball said yesterday. “Everything is ready to go. It’s going to be a great time for everyone and believe me, there aren’t going to be any problems.”

Kimball said there is easily room on his farm for 1,000 cars and that the nearest homes are a good distance from the camping and entertainment areas. He said he anticipates at least 150 people camping in tents in a field on his property tonight and tomorrow. He said drinking of alcohol will be limited to a one-acre area in the southwest corner of the property.

Kimball said he will also offer other activities on his farm for event participants and the general public tonight and tomorrow, including a corn maze and haunted hayride.

Police Sgt. Dana Burrill said the department’s concerns about the event focus on the camping, parking, noise and other potential impacts to neighbors. In light of those concerns, the License Commission ordered several conditions on the event, including that parking is prohibited on East Broadway, that all music stop by 6 p.m. Saturday, and that organizers hire the three city police officers to augment their own security efforts.

City officials have also warned organizers that providing free alcohol drinks to runners — as is advertised in the event’s promotional material — is illegal. They also asked organizers to make sure contestants don’t leave muddy and torn clothes and other discarded items behind on public property near race sites, which has reportedly happened where other Rebel Race events have been held.

Joseph Edwards, the city’s License Commission chairman, said his board relied on Kimball’s “excellent reputation” when it approved the event and one-day alcohol license.

Amit Nar of Pennsylvania is listed as the applicant for the event on behalf of Rebel Race LLC.

Racing on Saturday and Sunday will be in waves of up to 500 runners throughout the day starting at 9:30 a.m., according to organizers.

Twenty-two obstacles along the 3.1- and 9.3-mile treks feature names such as Slimy Slope Slide, Ninja Turtle Sewer (a scramble through tunnels), Lunatic Lagoon Military Mud pit, Flaming Fury (leap over fire) and Hell in the Himalayas (climb over a mountain of mud).

Walls, nets, ropes, water, fire, mounds of hay and lots of mud are among the obstacles participants must go around, over or through, according to promotional information.

Trophies and prizes are up for grabs in a variety of male, female and youth categories. Anyone 11 or older is welcome to compete, according to the rules.

Kimball and Nar have told the city all runners will be off the farm property an hour after the last race at 5 p.m. Sunday.