Race runner collects shoes to help those in need

By Alyssa Donovan

September 28, 2013 Updated Sep 30, 2013 at 9:44 AM CDT

Chillicothe, Ill. -- Hundreds of people brought out their inner warrior on Saturday to take on an obstacle course made for the toughest competitors.

Crawling through mud, balancing on logs and swinging from slippery monkey bars were just a few of the challenges at the Hard Charge 4 mile obstacle race on Saturday.

"Obstacle course racing is a sport, it's the fastest growing sport in the nation right now," said Hard Charge Commissioner Brent Wolf. "People are just looking for something different. They've ran their 5K's they've ran their half marathons now they still want to do those but mix it up a bit."

Many took on the race for the glory but Nicolas Zanasky crossed the finish line for footwear.

"I have a national partnership with Hard Charge called Barrel Aide and we actually come and collect all the race shoes," Zanasky said.

Barrel Aide launders the muddy shoes and then sends them to people that need them.

"We send them all over the world, to Haiti, Africa, China. We send them in 55 gallon drums which then become water collection," Zanasky said.

Barrel Aide has donated more than 6,000 pairs of shoes.

Zanasky said a race like this, with more than 1,300 participants, could bring in nearly 400 pairs of shoes.

Those who chose to keep their kicks were still crawling for a cause.

"We're partnered with the Children's Miracle Network and it's inspiring to hear some of the stories of these kids who have to hard charge through life so coming out here and doing 4 miles is a little bit easier than what they've gone through," said Wolf.

Tyler Veerman of Pekin took the Men’s Charge Championship and Women’s Charge Champion, Angela Brown of Genoa, captured her second first-place title for a Hard Charge event.