It will be gritty and tough. On Saturday, May 25 — rain or shine — Ragged Mountain in Camden will come alive with the first Run for Your Life Emergency Service Challenge, a contest of physical and mental stamina for individuals and teams attempting to conquer a mountain obstacle course.

The race is sponsored by Emergency Service Challenge, a group of firefighters and paramedics who are creatively recruiting a new generation of motivated firefighters, law enforcement personnel and Emergency Medical Technicians, and bringing new life to first responder agencies of Maine.

A first for the region, the Run for Your Life is a collaborative project of the Camden First Aid Association, Hope Fire Department and Camden Fire Department.

"The ‘Run for Your Life Challenge’ is a fun, energetic way to increase awareness of the need for citizens to be actively engaged in providing emergency services to our communities,” said Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley. “We are challenging participants to push themselves mentally and physically, and we are promoting involvement in local fire departments, ambulance services, and law enforcement agencies.”

The challenge is an endurance trial, inspired by many of the actual situations encountered by firefighters, EMS and law enforcement. Participants will be faced with obstacle after obstacle outside the realm of everyday experience, forging team-building skills and camaraderie as they progress through the course.

The event is geared for those who possess a love of the outdoors, a sense of humor and a desire to give back to the communities in which they live.

A family friendly experience for participants of all skill levels, the challenge consists of a series of more than 10 mental and physical hurdles over a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course, integrating mountain running, rope swings, icy plunges, barbed wire and fire. With obstacles such as, “Blazing Forearms,” “Bucket Brigade,” “Rescue Sandy,” and “Highrise Hell,” the event promises an invigorating exercise in teamwork and fitness.

The course makes ample use of the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area and the Camden Snow Bowl, the loops and descents of newly-built ski and bike trails, and Hosmer Pond. After crossing the finish line, participants and support teams will be celebrating the day's challenge, camaraderie and festivities.

Register now for the Run for Your Life Emergency Service Challenge. Visit the Challenge website or friend them on Facebook to keep up with the latest challenge news. For more information, email, or call 207-236-7950.

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