BY JOEY CAPORALI

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The Clark Sports Center is opening its doors Saturday for a Community Recreation Day.

“We have had open houses in the past, but we do believe that this (Community Recreation Day) will become an annual event,” Kathy Graham, associate director for facilities, said.

“What makes this day special is that it coincides with the opening of the new indoor high rock climbing wall,” she added.

According to Dion Wade, director of the Clark Sports Center, the original wall was  one of the first climbing wallsbuilt in the United States. He  said it was built when thefacility opened in 1986, by DR Climbing Walls International, which was a founding member of the Climbing Wall Association.

“The new wall, built by Entre Prises USA, is designed to be dynamic, so routes and difficulty of the wall can be changed periodically,” Wade said. “This gives us the power to use the wall for all ages and abilities while keeping it fresh for the repeat climber.”

The wall has up to eight belay lines on the course allowing several climbers to ascend the rock simultaneously. When asked what was done with the original wall, Wade said, “We covered it up with the new wall.”

The day will start at 8 a.m., with all admission and activities free of charge, and end at 6 p.m. The main event of the day will be its grand opening of the rock climbing wall, taking place in the pool area, with a ceremony at noon.  It is open to the public andall members and guests are encouraged to attend.

Another featured event will be the family fun run, which will kickoff at 10 a.m.

The race will take place on the Sports Center grounds, with the first 200 entrants receiving a commemorative T-shirt. The race course is described, by the sports center website, as moderately difficult, including elements that runners must climb over, crawl under and run through.

The race will have a water stop placed at the halfway mark and at the end. It will be timed and go on rain or shine. Participants will run in pairs and relay to finish the 6-mile race, and on completion there will be awards presented to winners.

A health and fitness fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Sports Center main lobby and downstairs pit area. Healthy cooking demos will be held downstairs in the pit area from 10: a.m. to 2 p.m. An indoor obstacle course, open to youths and adults, will be held on the gym floor from 1 to 4 p.m. An outdoor ropes course will be offered to participants of ages 12 and up at 3:30 p.m. Participants must be signed up for this event in advance. From 1 to 5 p.m., there will be free bowling with shoe rentals in the downstairs alley.

Free group fitness classes will be offered all day in the group fitness studio also located in the downstairs of the Sports Center.

Sports Center organizers said they want people to walk away with something from the day, literally. There will have free giveaways such as chances to win membership coupons, valued for $250, $100 or $50 on new memberships or a renewal. People will also have a chance to win an iPod touch, and other gifts for attending.

“This idea for the Community Recreation Day came about to thank the community for their continued support of The Clark Sports Center.”

Wade said. “And it is a mission of ours to promote recreation and wellness throughout the area.”

For more information about the Community Recreation Day, visit The Clark Sports Center website at www.clarksportscenter.com.

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