People of all ages are invited to join in the fun at Gladiator Dash, an annual mud run for a good cause.
One Army is a men’s organization at Texas A&M that has been putting on Gladiator Dash for eight years. This year, participants can expect never-before-seen obstacles, food trucks, live music from five local artists and lots of muddy fun. Gladiator Dash will be held on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lake Bryan.
The proceeds raised from the run will go directly to helping the children of Still Creek Ranch get access to essentials they may need. Still Creek Ranch is a therapeutic school that helps girls and boys get out of crisis environments. Last year, Gladiator Dash raised about $66,800 and entertained around 1,500 runners.
Wes Priest is the resident program director at Still Creek and also serves in many other roles for the program. He has worked with Still Creek for fourteen years now and oversees all of the houses and intake of children at the ranch.
“We have three keys to success that we’ve been using since 1988,” Priest said. “The first key is Jesus Christ, the second key is work ethic and the third is education. Through my time here at Still Creek, we’re actually adding a fourth key: building long lasting, trusting relationships with our kids.”
Priest said almost 10 percent of Still Creek’s annual budget is provided through the fundraising done by One Army through Gladiator Dash. This money goes to a general fund which serves the children by providing them with anything from clothing to food and more.
“As a representative for Still Creek, we are so honored and grateful that One Army chooses to put this event on for us,” Priest said. “It really shows the organization’s heart to serving these kids out here. Outside of Glad Dash, the mentorship program that One Army has instilled out here is amazing.They raise a lot of finances for us but the memories and the bonds and relationships that One Army builds with our kids is remarkable.”
Biomedical engineering senior Gunnar Hughes is One Army’s marketing director. Hughes is in charge of acquiring sponsorships, developing creative ways to bring in runners and other operations.
“We have four new obstacles,” Hughes said. “The names of them are the swamp, the spider canyon, the rope scale and the balance beam. We want people to come and enjoy Gladiator Dash and hopefully get a little more insight into what Gladiator Dash is. It’s going toward a really good cause.”
Hughes said there is a new aspect to the dash this year called the endurance race. For this race, whoever completes the most laps around the course will receive a prize.
Accounting junior and president of One Army Vinny Hale oversees and deals mostly with the logistics of Gladiator Dash. Hale said this year, they hope to raise enough money to buy out Still Creek’s wish list, which would give the kids a tangible way of seeing where the money raised from Gladiator Dash goes.
“In prior years, the kids haven’t really seen the money come through,” Hale said. “If we come up with a truck full of stuff they want from Amazon, that will show them more of what we raised.”