Ryan Small participated in the Dirty Myrtle Mud Run a few times before it was discontinued a few years ago.
He misses that, so he decided to create his own pitch race, but he’s stepping it up a notch or two.
Small, owner of the Beast Ninja Gym and Obstacle Course for three years, will host the Myrtle Beast Terrain Race on May 21 at the site of the former Hard Rock/Freestyle amusement park in Myrtle Beach.
“It’s something that I know a lot of people in the community want to keep doing,” Small said. “They were really building up a pretty big following with the Dirty Myrtle Mud Run, so it was a shame he stopped doing that, so I think I can pick up where he left off.
“I had a great interest in doing something like that. Now I have the opportunity to do so.
The course is approximately three miles long and zigzags through an area of the old parkland along George Bishop Parkway in the Fantasy Harbor area.
A course that will test you
Small has built or created around 30 obstacles or physical challenges throughout this one.
They include swing rings, rope climbing, mud pits, steep mountain, barriers, barbell burpees, ammo racks, sandbags and low crawls.
“Some of those hurdles and some of the other things that we have are pretty tough,” Small said.
Small retired from the Marine Corps after 20 years and three combat tours with the rank of gunnery sergeant.
Raymond Houston, his course and field running partner, is also a Navy veteran who recently moved to the area from California.
“We used to do a lot of workouts like this,” Small said.
Small planned to hold the race in 2020 but it was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
He has participated in several other field races in recent years, including Gunny’s Boot Camp, the Spartan Race and Rugged Maniac.
Many of the obstacles are similar to those you’ll find in these races, the Marine Corps Obstacle Course, and ninja competitions. The inflatable Gauntlet obstacle has been ordered and could be part of the race if it arrives in time.
Small worked at the X Gym Sports Mall across from the old amusement park and always thought the location would be ideal for a field run.
He said the owner, whom he declined to name, had pledged to allow at least one more land run in October, and Small said he expected to find another location where the run could become more permanent.
He hopes to organize a few races a year.
Vendors selling supplements and other health products will be there, as will Navy recruiters.
Strength competitions involving things such as pull-ups, tire flips, and medicine ball throws will take place.
Pizzas will be provided to all competitors and over 50 volunteers by Marco’s Pizza.
Famous Toastery will provide water and fruit, and there will be a bouncy house for the kids.
Small selected 15 sponsors for the event and said most of them contacted him.
Southern Asphalt cleared the land for the course, JTE Real Estate produced flyers, and numerous sponsors made donations.
“We had great community support,” Small said. “There is great interest in this thing.”
Riders can participate competitively or for fun.
Small expects the winning time to be around 40 minutes.
Heats will be run in 30-minute increments starting at 8 a.m., and Small expects to have around 100 runners per heat.
There will be cash prizes for the winners.
There are already over 100 registered for Myrtle Beast, and Small said he can accommodate around 1,000.
The entry fee is around $60 and runners can pre-register and pay online through Myrtle Beast’s Facebook page.
Myrtle Beast will raise money for injured veterans.
The future of the old park
Horry County land records show a business permit application was submitted Jan. 19 to construct a 250,000 square foot FedEx commercial building.
The construction cost is estimated at over $12 million. The application is being reviewed and land records showed in early February that no permit had been issued.
The former property of Hard Rock Park and Freestyle Music Park is at Fantasy Way along the Intracoastal Waterway in County Horry.
It remained largely vacant for years, as graffiti dotted what remained of the old attractions, and suspicious fires were reported numerous times.
Former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, who died of complications from COVID-19 about a year ago, was part of an investment group that bought the park’s former site in 2018 for $3.5 million of dollars. His business partners in the company have never been made public.
Sun News reporter Jenna Farhat contributed to this article.