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Castle Rock

Sand and Misery 5k obstacle run lives up to name

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Six months ago, Kelso resident Ellie Reneau was almost 300 pounds and would have spent her weekend sitting on the couch.

But on Saturday, she ran an 18-obstacle 5k course in Castle Rock and finished before her goal time of 90 minutes.

Reneau, 45, of Kelso was among about 150 racers who participated in the Sand and Misery 5k, which benefits the Boy Scouts of America, Castle Rock’s North County Sports Complex and local high school runners who are interested in scholarships.

Reneau ran the race that started to “Eye of the Tiger” at 10 a.m. Saturday alongside her husband, Sam, 53, and friend, Sara Turner, 28 of Castle Rock.

“We all work out at Studio 117 in Castle Rock, and it’s all our first time doing something like this,” Reneau said, adding that she and her husband started on their own weight-loss journey a few months ago. She said she’s lost 62 pounds and her husband has lost 50 pounds so far.

“This is another part of our weight-loss journey. Our goal is just to finish,” she said before the race, which included a river run, tire wall and mud crawl.

The group of three finished the race in 70 minutes and said they enjoyed taking selfies at each obstacle.

“We didn’t care about the time. It was just fun. We stopped at took pictures at each stop. It was awesome,” Reneau said, covered in mud after she completed the course.

Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 313 in Castle Rock Darren Daniels estimated the event brought in about $2,000 in profit and said it was the first year the boy scouts have set up the event. The Cowlitz County Runners hosted it the past three years and handed it down to the local troop this year, he said.

“We’ve (the boy scouts) done everything this time. The Cowlitz County Runners laid out a good plan for us from last year and passed it on to us,” he said.

For team Ninja Whales, the race was a chance to compete while wearing bright spandex pants and bandannas.

“We tried to come up with the weirdest costume and it’s surprisingly comfortable,” said Jeremy Wallar, 24, of Castle Rock.

Waller and his two friends, Glenn Greer, 28, of Kelso and James Hantho, 23, of Longview, have ran other similar races together such as the Sand Blaster in the past.

“We just want to have fun and not be last,” Greer said.

For Longview best friends Abby Groves, 14, and Ashleyn O’Neil, 14, the race meant starting and finishing together.

“We started holding hands and we wanted to end holding hands,” Ashleyn said.

They said they decided to do the race Friday night and signed up Saturday morning.

“It was a last-minute thing. It’s our first time doing something like this,” Ashleyn said.

The pair stayed together the entire race and said they helped each other through the hardest parts.

“Abby was stuck in the mud and I helped her out. Friends have to stick together,” she said.

Contact Daily News reporter Shira Moskowitz at 360-577-2542 or


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