Sandlot Jax takes over Metro Park with music, obstacle courses and more
At first glance, the massive playground sprawled across Metro Park looks like a mix of military boot camp and a lot of TV's "Survivor" obstacle courses maniacally laid out on the grassy lawn.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, about 3,000 athletes will go up, under, through and around the 17 obstacles arranged at Sandlot Jax, a three-day fitness and music festival.
Open to people of all ages and abilities, the event offers plenty of fitness activities as well as live music and the chance to chill, spokeswoman Stevan Brown said.
"There's something for everyone," she said, overlooking the obstacle course, stage and VIP area.
"We have the obstacle course, which we are looking at right now. You have 17 different obstacles all levels," Brown said. "We have a kids obstacle course over here. In center field, we will be leading different workouts throughout the day with various fitness brands. But if you want something a little bit more chill, you can come to the yoga class. You can come to the breathing activation class. If you just want to come and hear music, you can do that too."
The event is presented by GORUCK, a Jacksonville Beach-based maker of backpacks and fitness gear founded in 2008 by Jason and Emily McCarthy. The event, which offers a plethora of events on and off the city park site all weekend long, was born out of COVID-19, which forced McCarthy, ex-Army Special Forces, to work out at home.
First, he gathered friends together for Sunday workouts. Then he decided to expand the workouts on a larger scale "and invite all the friends that we have made through GORUCK" to an event in Jacksonville, Brown said. Thus Sandlot JAX was born last year.
"Let's bring them together for a weekend of fun in the Florida sun," she said.
The course is laid out on the Metro Park lawn and through the trees on hills next to WJCT Public Media. It was used for last year's event and rebuilt for this weekend.
The Urban Obstacle Course built by Savage Race has nets to climb up and down, rings to rappel along, barrels to slide through and barriers to jump over, climb through or run up and jump off. Participants can just run the course or compete on it in what's called the Savage Race O-Course. There is also a separate Kids O-Course.
There will be strength challenges, with wheelbarrow races, rope climbs, pull-up bar competitions and sandbag tosses. Trainers will include author Sebastian Junger, Street Parking fitness guru Miranda Alcaraz and CrossFitForce Recon CEO Don Faul. And there will be scavenger hunts all over town, from 5K to 15K. There are also fitness talks inside WJCT plus live music.
Tickets can be purchased at passes.sandlotjax.com/event/sandlot-jax-2023: a three-day pass for $249, a VIP three-day pass for $599a a Saturday all-day pass at $99; a VIP Saturday all-day pass for $250, and a VIP Sunday all-day pass for $250. The full schedule is at sandlotjax.com/schedule.