I grew up watching various tv shows like Wipe Out and American Ninja Warrior. I always find myself wondering how I would do on the courses laid out for contestants on the screen. I got an opportunity to do so when ONU’s Student Planning Committee (SPC) hosted the Northern Ninja Warrior event, March 23. I’ve been to SPC’s Ada Ninja Warrior event in the Spring semester of 2019, but I was curious if I could still do the course after two years. I also wanted to see what sort of changes there would be to the course, provided by Super Games, a company that supplies groups and businesses with games and activities for events. The event, of course, was hosted differently due to COVID-19, an aspect I was eager to see before arriving.
The event did follow COVID-19 protocols in several ways. Participants were required to stand six feet apart while waiting in line for the course. They were required to wear a mask for the whole duration of the event — even while on the course — and were given hand sanitizer before participating in the course. Super Games took the additional precaution of spraying down the commonly touched parts of the course immediately after a participant finished the course. The whole event took place outside as well, whereas in past years the Ada Ninja Warrior was set in one of the gyms in Kinghorn. It was a little chilly outside but overall it was good weather to be out and running through a Ninja Warrior course.
The overall course this year was slightly different from the last time, and I would even say this course was a little more challenging than before. The previous course, if memory serves, was slightly shorter and had obstacles such as short hurdles to jump. The course from this year included newer obstacles such as short sections of a rope wall and a rock wall, monkey bars, and a rolling log to walk along with rings on ropes to help a participant balance. The two courses do have several obstacles in common, including the rope sack filled with bouncy balls, pedestals to get from one obstacle to another, and of course, the famous wall. The wall was slightly different this year, being made of plastic. This made it difficult to gain traction, and thus difficult to make it up the wall. There were, however, two sizes of the wall so the participant could decide whether they try the harder version or the easier version of the wall.
A couple of other changes with the event were the prize and requirements before running. The last time the course was set up, $10 gift cards for a restaurant of the participant’s choice were given to the top winners in both the men and women’s section. This year, $25 Amazon gift cards were awarded to the top three men and women participants who had the best times. Another change to this year’s course was that students had to sign a waiver before participating in the course. One person was slightly injured during the event, where they cut their hand on a rope while running through the course.
Other than the small injury, I think the Northern Ninja Warrior event was a success. Almost sixty people participated on the course, and even more came out to watch and cheer on their friends. Not only did students participate but faculty members and members from the Ada community came out to join the fun as well. The majority of participants were men, who would go through the course over and over to get the best time possible. There were several women who ran through the course as well. As a skinny, non-muscular woman who is kinda short, it was intimidating watching the guys continuously run through and getting times like 15 seconds. I ran the course three times and my best time was 43 seconds. I felt so slow compared to the guys running and was a little embarrassed to be taking so long, but running through the course was still a great rush for me.
I really hope SPC brings the course back next year so I can run again. I think this is a great opportunity for college students to break away from the constant flow of homework and get some physical exercise. Just going through the course once can really take it out of you and make you sore for the next couple of days but it is a great rush that makes you feel accomplished when you finish.