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RUNdezvous to tests survivalist skills Saturday in Crystal Lake

CRYSTAL LAKE – Fred Kaiser does not only condone throwing hatchets, shooting arrows and starting fires – the middle school teacher encourages it.

Kaiser will put residents to the test Saturday with some of the most vital 1800s survival skills incorporated in a 5-mile-plus trek known as the RUNdezvous. The course will challenge participants in 14 survival skills, such as trapping, logging, lassoing and archery.

The event, which is open to those 18 and older, was created by Kaiser after he had a hatchet-throwing competition with five of his friends. That led to a discussion about how to get people active in fun ways. After further discussions at a state physical education teacher conference, the Lundahl Middle School instructor created the event in 2012.

"We just want people to go out and try something new," Kaiser said. "When you stretch your experiences and take a little bit of a risk, you might find out you enjoy something like archery."

Those interested can register on site at Lippold Park on 8597 Route 176 in Crystal Lake starting just before 8:30 a.m. up to about 9:20 a.m., as races will start roughly every 10 minutes within that timeframe. Kaiser said he does not expect many more than the 90 participants already registered but hopes the event grows in the future.

Between pre-race practices he hosts leading up to the event and word-of-mouth from past participants, Kaiser said the misconception that people need to be skilled in the challenges in order to participate hopefully will go away.

"We struggle with the preconceived notion that you have to know how to lasso and do all that stuff, but that's not the case," he said. "Our chief motive is to promote people getting active outside."

In addition to the RUNdezvous event, the Gear Up, Get Ready Community Preparedness Campaign will be on hand to help residents fill out an emergency contact card, make a family emergency plan, and gather emergency supplies.

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