Habitat for Humanity event helps competitors work up a sweat

  • Habitat for Humanity factsHome recipients pay no interest on the mortgages.

    Recipients are required to put in hours helping build homes for other people.

    Operates in 83 different countries.

    Homes take one to three months to build.

Kalyn Reid, 14, laughed as she pointed a water hose at her mud-soaked feet.

"It got really muddy out there," she said, glancing over her shoulder at the finish line of the obstacle course.

Kalyn, a freshman at Victoria West High School, spent her Saturday volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity Sweat Equity Challenge. She also took part in the event, crawling through mud and over various objects on a two-mile long obstacle course that left her covered in mud and pink-faced, but smiling.

"I decided to do this because I thought it'd be fun to help people. I'm not outside that much and mud obstacles are awesome," Kalyn said.

More than 300 people turned out for Habitat for Humanity's second annual Sweat Equity Challenge, a series of 20 events designed to give participants a taste of what sweat equity - the hours a recipient of a Habitat for Humanity home donates helping build other houses - really is.

"All of these events are designed to give people an idea about what it's really like to build a house. People don't realize how much physical work people who get these houses really give," participant Sara Hounshell said, as she wiped the mud from her running shoes.

After hearing about the event last year, Hounshell said she was determined to take part in it this year. The only difficult part was the heights.

"I'm kind of afraid of heights, and I was standing up there on top of this wall thinking, 'I don't know if I can do this,' but my friends helped me out," Hounshell said.

Events included kayaking, a children's fishing tournament, a 5K, a 10K, a volleyball tournament, a dodge ball tournament, even a couch potato race, a contest to see who could wheel a couch across the finish line first. Cost to participate in the different events ranged from $5 to $50, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.

At the end of the day, Habitat workers were not sure how much they had raised, but 2010 Sweat Equity committee chairman Randy Pollard said they set their goal at $25,000 this year.

The money will be used to buy supplies and build more houses for those who need them, Pollard said, noting the difference being a home owner can make to a community member.

Helping people own homes who wouldn't otherwise have the means to do so gets those people vested and invested in the community, Pollard said.

"It's good for everybody. 'A nation of homeowners will never be invaded.' I think it was Roosevelt who said that, and it's true."