Nearly 500 people proved they have “the heart of a lion” this past Saturday during the 8th annual Lion’s Chase obstacle course 5k race held near Corbin.
With multiple-year champions Ben Hall and Ben White out due to injuries — and other past champions not running — the field was wide open. Thirty-nine-year-old Lucian Musgrove, an assistant cross country coach at McCreary Central High School, navigated the obstacle-riddled 5k course in a top time of 34:42 to capture the coveted top prize — a custom Lion’s Chase trophy sword.
“This seems to be well put on event. The course is laid out nicely, and the obstacles were plenty challenging. There was a good mix of trail and grass, so I can’t complain. It was a fun race,” Musgrove said shortly after crossing the finish line. He ran in the very first wave of the race.
“I’m an assistant cross country coach (McCreary Central HS), but my training is pretty sporadic. I’m a 39-year-old dad of two and self-employed, so I really don’t train very much.”
Musgrove said he ran the race Saturday for the first time, but plans to be back.
“Absolutely. This was a lot of fun. This is definitely a twist on running your typical 5k. I liked this quite a bit. I was very impressed.”
Musgrove won the race by over three minutes. Benjamin Stargel was runner up with a time of 37:36.
Jessica Ness, 32, of Winchester, was the top female finisher with a time of 43:56. It is the second time she’s been female champion of The Lion’s Chase. She won it last in 2016.
“The course was definitely more difficult this year because of the hills,” Ness said. “There were a lot more hills hiss this time around.”
Ness, who works orthopedic prosthesis clinic in Mt Sterling, said the Lion’s Chase is the best obstacle course race in which she’s participated. She’s run in three times total.
“I had a goal of running it in 45 minutes, and I beat that. I wanted to be in the top three, but I didn’t think I was going to get it because I haven’t been running as much. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.”
Ness said she plans to run it again in the future.
Last year’s female champion, 38-year-old Kim Boswell, of Corbin, captured second place with a time of 47:00.
Jaine Stephens — a 2018 graduate of Whitley County High School where she was a standout in wrestling and soccer — was the third female finisher with a time of 49:57.
Hailey Martin, a former track start at Corbin High School, finished fourth with a time of 50:11.
In the team competitions, Cumberland Free Will Baptist was the church division, 606 Crew was Co-Ed champions, Guard AVN won the Men’s Open division, Team Boss took top spot in the Women’s Open and FSB Mudder was the top team in the Work Group division.
Race found and organizer, Jeff Sparks, said this year’s Lion’s Chase contained 62 obstacles, the most ever for the race. But when it comes to obstacles, it’s not all just about quantity.
“We keep thinking of other things to do to keep it fresh and make it a better race,” Sparks said. “We are always trying to think of ways to make the obstacles we have better and safer every year.”
There were 488 listed finishers in this year’s race. Sparks said another 40 or so people registered, but didn’t end up running.
“This was our eighth year of doing this and I think it was a great race. We plan to keep rocking and rolling with it, so we will for certain be back for the ninth year in 2020,” Sparks said.
The Lion’s Chase is held on a picturesque, pastoral farm off Cumberland Falls High south of Corbin in rural Whitley County. Sparks said registration for next year’s race would open soon. Anyone interested in registering can do so online at www.lionschase.com.