Like mud? Check out this kids’ obstacle race …

The Kids Obstacle Challenge comes to Dripping Springs on Saturday. Photo courtesy Kids Obstacle Challenge


Not enough mud in your kid’s life?

Load ’em up and head to Dripping Springs on Saturday for the Kids Obstacle Challenge, where they can climb cargo nets, sail off a rope swing into muddy water, scale walls, crawl through a mud pit, get wet, get dirty and, yes, wallow in a muddy paradise.

Sound good to you, too? Parents are allowed to run alongside their child as they tackle the obstacles.

The event takes place at Dripping Springs Ranch Park, 1042 Event Center Drive, with waves going off between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Entry fee is $46 online (registration ends at 8 p.m. Friday) or $56 at the site on Saturday. Parents run for free. Anyone can re-run the course for an additional $5.

The course is designed for kids ages 5 to 16, who will face 10 to 15 obstacles. There is no time limit, but it takes most participants about 30 minutes to complete the course.

For more information, go here.

On National Running Day, guess which Austin trail makes list of top running routes in U.S.?

Early morning joggers get in their exercise on the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Trail as the sun rises on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail in this 2016 file photo. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Happy National Running Day, people!

Here in Austin, runners know to head to the Butler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake if they want to chat with other runners, watch scullers glide up and down the river or count turtles perched on logs. Turns out our downtown trail ranks as one of the most popular running routes in the country.

Under Armour compiled a list of the most popular running routes in the U.S., based on data logged on by MapMyRun users.

The 3.02-mile Austin route that starts at the pedestrian bridge underneath Loop 1 (MoPac Boulevard), loops east to the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge, crosses the river and heads west to MoPac, came in fifth on the list.

A highlight, according to the report? The nightly summertime bat migration that takes place beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. According to the data, the busiest time to run the trail is 6 p.m. Tuesday. (I don’t agree. It’s way busier on a Saturday or Sunday morning.)

The list includes a route map, mileage, average running time, the most popular hour and day to run, and a male/female breakdown for each route. Every route except one – a loop around Rice University in Houston – takes runners along a river, lake or stream.

Who ranked above Austin? Washington Park Loop in Denver came in fourth, followed by Central Park in New York City, Prospect Park in Brooklyn and, in the top slot, Memorial Park Loop in Houston.

To see the top 20 routes go here.


Next in my Year of Adventure: Rappeling down a high-rise building with Make-A-Wish


I’ll channel Batman and Robin, shown here in a clip from the classic TV show, when I rappel down a 38-story building on Friday.


My self-declared, sometimes idiotic Year of Adventure continues this week, when I rappel down a high-rise building on Friday.

More than 200 people will rappel down the W Austin this weekend to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Photo courtesy Make-A-Wish of Central and South Texas.

At least that’s the plan.

I had a hard time looking down from the top of a 10-meter diving platform at the University of Texas a few weeks ago, so I’m not sure how I’ll feel about standing at the edge of a 38-story building. Hopefully I’ll be able to channel Batman and Robin (thank you Whitney Milam) and scuttle down without mishap.

Each year, Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas invites people to scuttle over the edge of a downtown building to raise money used to grant wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

This year, Over the Edge Presented by IBC Bank takes place Saturday and Sunday at the W Austin, 200 Lavaca Street. More than 200 people have raised at least $1,500 each for the chance to (possibly) wet their pants with fear. I’m going a day early to write about the experience.

The local chapter has granted more than 4,400 wishes to children in 40 counties since 1984. During the last year, they helped 266 kids get a wish.

So far, this year’s event has raised more than $522,000 – enough to grant wishes to more than 100 kids in central and south Texas. But for every wish granted, at least two other children are being diagnosed who will qualify for the program, according to a press release from Make-A-Wish.

Amanda Osuna rappels down a high-rise during the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Over the Edge event. Photo courtesy Make-A-Wish of Central and South Texas,

The top individual fundraiser is board member Tom Lucas, who raised more than $15,000. The top fund raising team is Team General Motors, which has raised more than $49,000. To make a donation, go here.

Know a child with a life-threatening medical condition? A medical professional, parent or guardian (or the child himself) can make a referral to the Make-A-Wish program by calling 1-800-880-9474 or going here

Patagonia to host screening of ‘Voices from the Sea’ Thursday

Travel+SocialGood will host a screening of the film “Voices from the Sea” this Thursday at the downtown Austin Patagonia store. Photo courtesy Travel+SocialGood


Want to learn more about the importance of ocean conservation and what you can do to help?

Join me Thursday at the downtown Patagonia store for a screening of “Voices from the Sea,” a documentary that follows a remote society’s battle to save the sea.

After the screening, I’ll lead a discussion about the interconnected issues of ocean conservation and how we can make a positive impact.

Panelists will include Laura Huffman, state director of The Nature Conservancy, Jennifer Walker, water resources program manager for the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, Ryan Boudreaux, seafood coordinator for the southwest region for Whole Foods, and Nick Wiersema of the Central Texas Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

Travel+SocialGood is hosting the event, which starts at 7 p.m. The screening will start at 7:30, and the panel discussion will begin at 8 p.m., followed by an audience Q&A at 8:45 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and include a beer from Hops & Grain. The store is located at 305 Congress Avenue.

Can you name the top 100 swimming holes in Texas? Book release Wednesday

A book release celebration for the new “Swimming Holes of Texas” is scheduled for Wednesday at Barton Springs.


If you live in Austin, you already know that the chilly, clear waters of Barton Springs Pool make one of the best places on the planet to take the plunge on a hot summer day.

But can you name 99 other cool (and natural) places to take a dip in the Lone Star State?

We won’t give them all away, but here are a few in Central Texas to get you started: The Blue Hole, Hamilton Pool, Krause Springs, Landa Park and Jacob’s Well. If you’re willing to travel, think Balmorhea, Possum Kingdom and Lake Tejas.

Need help? Check our swell interactive guide to the best places to swim around Austin, or check this blog.

Head to the Barton Springs Bathhouse at 5 p.m. Wednesday for a book launch celebrating the release of “The Swimming Holes of Texas” (University of Texas Press, $21.95) by writer Julie Wernersbach and photographer Carolyn Tracy. They’ll answer questions and sign copies of their guide.

Live music and light refreshments will be provided, and a limited number of Barton Springs swim passes will be available with purchase of the book. Books will be available for purchase courtesy of BookPeople.

The event is free and open to the public.

Dancers Shape offers free Pilates in the Park classes

Dancers Shape will offer free fitness classes every Wednesday through June at Ramsey Park. Photo courtesy Dancers Shape


Fitness doesn’t have to cost much.

You can go for a walk in your neighborhood, climb a tree, kick a ball around in a park – or you can scour the city for free fitness classes, like the one Dancers Shape is hosting this month at Ramsey Park.

The gym will present a free, one-hour Pilates class at 7 p.m. every Wednesday in June. The first Pilates in the Park session is set for 7 p.m. June 7 at the park, 4301 Rosedale Avenue.

The class will combine traditional elements of Pilates, yoga and barre into a quick-paced flowon the mat. The classes will focus on functional movement to build strength throughout the core.

Bring your own mat and water. For more information go here.

10 ways to celebrate National Go Barefoot Day

Blake Ehlers emerges from the water at the begining of a barefoot water ski run at Lake Austin in 2004. Jay Janner/American-Statesman


Have you put your shoes on yet?

If not, take a moment and do a happy dance. It’s National Go Barefoot Day.

The non-profit organization Soles4Souls drummed up the designation to encourage people to donate shoes to victims of natural disasters. (You can donate at Austin-area Brighton stores at the Domain, Lakeline Mall and Barton Creek Square through July 2.)

A barefoot runner lines up for the Statesman Capitol 10, 000 race in this file photo. Laura Skelding/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN


In honor of the day, we offer 10 suggestions on how to celebrate:

Going an estimated 50+ miles per hour, Blake Ehlers swings wide outside the wake on a turn and performs a barefoot water skiing trick called a “body slide” on Lake Austin in this 2004 file photo. Jay Janner/American-Statesman