Local activists create MSD Heroes Challenge to help community heal


Katrina White

On Saturday, Feb. 23, the inaugural MSD Heroes Challenge will begin for athletes of all age and skill level. The MSD Heroes Challenge was founded last year by local activists Doug Eaton, Manny Mair, Amy Kenny, and Debra Hixon. They created the challenge to bring the South Florida community together in remembrance of the tragedy on Feb. 14, 2018.

The MSD Heroes Challenge is a two-mile obstacle course race in which individuals and teams can race through challenging and fun obstacles. Challenges include climbing over walls, carrying objects, and much more. There will also be sessions for “specially abled” athletes. Participants are encouraged to wear a superhero costume either individually or in a group for a chance to win a family-of-four admission pass to Universal Studios.

Eaton’s daughter, Elizabeth Eaton, is a senior at MSD who has dedicated her time to gathering volunteers and participants for the event.

“The MSD Heroes Challenge is an obstacle race aimed at bringing our community together and supporting local charities in our community such as Stand With Parkland, 4FNow, and also providing scholarship opportunities to students at Douglas,” Elizabeth Eaton said.

The MSD Heroes Challenge founders have agreed to give all of the funds that the event raises to nonprofit working efforts to create safer communities as well as scholarships to emerging student leaders. They hope to meet their goal of recruiting 1,000 heroes and raising 25,000 dollars.

After participants complete the race, they are welcome to join in a relaxing afternoon of yoga lead by MSD yoga teacher Amy Kenny. Other activities at the race include an award ceremony, children’s area, costume contest, and food and drinks. All athletes will receive a t-shirt and medal for their participation.

Registration opens at 6:30 a.m. and the race starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Parkland Equestrian Center. People may also register for an 11:15 a.m. yoga-only session with Kenny for a small donation or as a part of their race package. Participants can also register by visiting https://www.active.com/parkland-fl/adventure-racing/races/msd-heroes-challenge-2019.