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Charly Haley, Published January 08 2013

Obstacle course company aiming for successful run

FARGO – A new Fargo business is offering the chance for area residents to run in the mud – and maybe end up on TV.

Hard Charge is a national obstacle course company based in Fargo and started in 2012 by local entrepreneurs Greg Lang and Mark Schlader. They are known for their work on the nationally syndicated Heartland Poker Tour, which is also based in Fargo.

The first Hard Charge season is this summer. Race dates have been scheduled across the country, including one on June 15 at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo.

Hard Charge participants run through a four- to six-mile mud course that includes military-inspired obstacles with names like “Abusement Park,” “Cargo Charge,” “No Holds Barred” and “Vertical Vengeance.”

Lindsay Babb, Hard Charge director of public relations and marketing, said this type of race has burst onto the running scene in the past two years.

“I think it’s still relatively unknown, except for in the running and fitness industry,” she said.

Each Hard Charge event offers two ways to participate.

The first way is the non-competitive “Charge for Fun,” with racers taking on the obstacles at their own pace and eliminating obstacles that are too difficult.

The second is “Charge for Glory,” a competitive race that gives participants the opportunity to be on TV. Top “Charge for Glory” participants will be featured on the “Hard Charge” television series, which Lang said will be broadcast on local networks and syndicated nationwide.

He said the company is in the process of evaluating different networks. They’re still figuring out where the Fargo event will be broadcast, Lang said, but the Wichita, Kan., event will be shown on local CBS and CW affiliates.

The team’s TV work on “Heartland Poker Tour” was similar to “Hard Charge” – Lang was the show’s executive producer, and Schlader was the director of television distribution.

Each Hard Charge event will also partner with local charities. Schlader said a Fargo charity hasn’t been selected yet, but the charity for the Wichita event is Children’s Miracle Network.

Wichita is the first scheduled Hard Charge event, on April 20. Next on the schedule is Fargo’s event, followed by events in Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois, with dates to be announced.

Babb, Lang and Schlader say Hard Charge’s Fargo event would be an opportunity for local athletes.

“In the past few years, this (type of race) has been a big part of the fitness industry,” Babb said.

Participation rates in Fargo range from $56 to $122. Admission includes races and a post-race party.

For details on how to participate in the Fargo event, visit www.hardcharge.com/fargo.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311

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