When Ramona Harris got a call from a company about holding something called a Warrior Dash, she wasn't sure what to make of it.
The co-owner of The Hitchin' Post in Kimberly soon found out that a Warrior Dash was a big deal, the biggest deal her family-owned farm and stable had ever encountered.
"They came looking for me," Harris said. "My mailing address is in Warrior, so I think that caught their eye. When I found out what it was, I about fell out in the floor. I was totally speechless. I almost lost my composure on the phone."
Now, Harris will be hosting one of the more than 50 stops on the Warrior Dash 2012 tour, which bills itself as the world's largest running series.
The Kimberly race will be held October 7. Promoters expect anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 participants and at least as many supporters — plus folks just wondering what the heck is going on. The total attendance could easily reach 20,000 or more, roughly the same number that attended last week's Magnolia Festival in Gardendale.
"When I heard those numbers, my wow-factor went, "Whoop!'" Harris said.
The race was officially announced at the Kimberly City Council meeting Tuesday night.
A Warrior Dash is a cross between a five-kilometer cross country race and a military obstacle course, with a bit of craziness and beer thrown in for good measure. This particular stop will wind its way through Harris' property, with obstacles such as walls, ponds and mud pits. There's even jumps over flaming hurdles.
Runners are encouraged to run in some sort of warrior-style costume, with an award for the most creative. Viking helmets are popular — it's the symbol of the race itself. "Most runners I saw were in regular gear," Harris said.
Race awards are also given for men and women in age groups starting at 14-19, then by decades through 60-plus.
It's part rock concert as well, with bands playing throughout the day and a fireworks show at night.
The Hitchin' Post was selected over other possible locations in metro Birmingham, including Barber Motorsports Park near Leeds and Gray Rock in Mt. Olive. The race will be the only tour stop in Alabama for 2012.
Registration fees start at $50, and increase closer to the race date; the registration deadline is September 24. Spectators are admitted free.
Race information and registration is at their website.