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AmFibious 5K & Float

The long awaited Labor Day AmFibious 5K and Float dropped like a bomb on Cayce and West Columbia this Monday morning.  Amazed bystanders witnessed the 73 (and still counting) assembled Pax, M’s and 2.0’s hoofing it through an otherwise quiet neighborhood and northward on Columbia’s Three Rivers Greenway laden with inflatables of countless varieties.  The 5K distance was, however, a mere appetizer to the morning.  Our mob congregated in West Columbia’s northernmost entry parking lot having completed about 95% of the run before exchanging footwear for floatwear.  And once all the tubes had been inflated, all the life jackets strapped on and the beverages distributed, the race resumed to the launch location down by the Congaree.

The float proved an enjoyable affair in spite of the frigid river water temperature which iced down the legs and back ends of many participants.  Floats of dubious choice were seen riding low.  Carefully disguised coolers bobbed in the current (no one was quite sure whether it was to keep the drinks cold or the river from getting warmer). Rocks were climbed upon, both by choice and by necessity, and the picture perfect summer morning proved good fellowship for all.  After the leisurely voyage south again, the mob exited the river and marched back up to the picnic pavilion and parking lot taking with them more than just a workout and wet clothes.

Conditions: 78-86 degrees but with a water temperature of 62-64 degrees.  The Congaree flow rate was an ideal 5000 cfm but riding low at 4.4 feet.

Pre-Race BOM led by AlterBoy

The Thang:

Although the route was pre-determined and exhaustively relayed before the event in multiple Pre-Blasts, allow me to recount the route and details for posterity…  Starting from the Naples Street entrance parking lot to the Cayce portion of the Three Rivers Greenway, The 5K Run headed away from the river, west up Naples Street to the left hand turn onto State Street.  For four strangely short blocks, the race continued south to the Greenway entrance on Lyle Street just before crossing the railroad tracks.  Turning east toward the river, the route zigzagged down the river’s bank to the Greenway proper where the mob, now thinned, headed north for the 2 mile stretch paralleling the Congaree River.  Passing the Congaree Picnic Shelter and going beneath the Blossom Street bridge, the route passes the AmFitheater and goes beneath the Gervais Street bridge followed by the Jarvis Klapman bridge before finally turning west and uphill to the parking lot at the end of Moffatt Street in West Columbia.  It was in this second parking lot that The Truck met the Pax and the rafts and floats that were not already inflated were given their charge.  Then, following a bit of milling about, the Pax raced off again downhill and east back to the launch location just north of the Jarvis Klapman bridge.

The Float began with some acrobatics due to the complex challenge of negotiating the rocky river’s edge while minimizing the amount of skin exposed to the chilly water.  At this launch spot, the water is almost exclusively from the Saluda River which is maintained, by the bottom fed outflow of the Lake Murray Dam, at the lowest possible temperatures.  Once underway, however, the Pax clipped downstream for an hour long ride back toward the original starting location.  For route mapping, see the Prior Pre-Blasts and the MapMyRun.com route created for the event.

Due to the low water level, the pull out spot was revised through a game day decision for safety’s sake.  Instead of exiting the Congaree at the so named Picnic Pavilion, the Pax stepped ashore just south of the Blossom Street bridge and walked the remaining 1/4 mile back to the Pavilion and the parking lot.  While a closer pull out spot may have been more ideal, the 1/4 mile hike did restore feeling to otherwise numb lower extremities.

Naked Moleskin:

  • 2nd F activities in Columbia continue to raise the bar.  This was fun.  Call’s for a second annual AmFibious event began much too early for YHC’s comfort but it was reiterated after everyone had safely returned to their respective vehicles which means success.  We look forward to trying this again (with some needed modifications) and further encouraging fellowship among the Pax and our families.  If you participated, please look for a forthcoming survey and respond as you are able.  Please also consider sending in specific feedback and suggestions for future activities to [email protected].
  • T-Claps to a long list of people…  more than I can list here.  Let me at least name a few…  to Sway for encouraging the idea, a good bit of recon and scouting work, and for almost constant involvement along the way.  To Chaser for proving his truck, coordinating the trailer and coolers, providing his legal expertise and for reading countless e-mails devoted to the subject.  To Subprime (et al) for leading off the run and for his involvement over the last few months.  And especially to AlterBoy who sacrificed his own participation in the event to drive The Truck and take care of countless race time details impossible for those of us enjoying the day.  Well done brothers and thank you!
  • T-Claps also to those who, in this unusual manner, completed their first 5K.  Special note to the Sled family who completed their first 5K today.  Sled’s still awaiting knee surgery so this was a big deal…  no need to ice the knee tonight, though.
  • And a special note or perhaps a shout out also to Chaser’s 2.0 who’s 9th birthday is today!
  • It was encouraging to see a number of Charlotte guys, including several families, for the morning.  Thanks for making the treck!
  • And it was encouraging to see a host of FNG’s of considerable diversity.  Our tradition is to name new guys in a proper COT following a real workout and so, if you know any of the new faces, please encourage them to come back and give the 1st F a shot.


  • We’re almost 100% on the payment side of the event but have a number of t-shirts remaining for those who weren’t able to pick them up today.  If you got your registration in prior to the shirt order deadline but haven’t gotten a shirt, please email me at [email protected] so that we can figure out how to get it/them to you.
  • Next weekend we have the opportunity to participate in a more normal 5K race in the Ryan Rawl Freedom Run.  Please check out the web site and plan on participating in that race as proceeds go to a number of causes dear to us including at-risk children at Crayton Middle School, our AO for #SwampFox.  If you can run a 5K with an inner tube, doing so unencumbered should be easy!
  • Also consider joining the Pax running the Governors Cup Half Marathon in November.  An updated Pre-Blast will show up this week with our F3 discount code and registration information.  There’s still plenty of time to prepare and, honestly, when will you again have this kind of team to run it with you?

Thank you again to everyone who made this morning’s event a success!

0 thoughts on “AmFibious 5K & Float”

  1. Successful events don’t just “happen,’ and in the case of this morning’s inaugural AmFibious 5K and Float, the lion’s share of the credit goes to John Powell, aka Fountainhead.

    This event was his idea. He did the legwork to map out the route. He dealt with THREE different municipalities (Cayce, West Columbia, and the city of Columbia) to make sure the plan was safe. He had discussions with the Congaree River Keeper, the Columbia Parks and Recreation department, other companies who do floats on the river, and the Department of Natural Resources. He designed the logo, ordered the shirts, collected the money, and distributed them. He (with Chaser’s help) allayed the liability fears of the F3 leadership. He wrote and updated the PreBlasts. He bought water bottles and iced them in coolers. He arranged trailers and transportation from the parking lot to the river launch spot.

    Sure, others helped, too. I’m sure I have missed a whole bunch, but I think you all get the picture: this event would not have happened had it not been for the TREMENDOUS and THOROUGH work done by Fountainhead.

    T-Claps to you, sir! Well done, and thank you.

  2. This morning was a lot of fun! Thank you, Fountainhead, for coming up with such a cool idea and following through on every detail to ensure today’s success. I don’t think we’ll ever know how much work you actually put into this event.

    Today was a great demonstration by Mr. Powell of Leadership by Example for all of us to follow.

    Thank you, sir!

  3. It was real leadership indeed!!! when that cayce cop came screeching into the middle of the pax at the starting line doing at least 35mph, and demanded to know who was in charge, my response was a swift “NO ONE!” but Fountainhead quickly spoke up and handled the situation with much more respect and professionalism than was probably warranted (and definitely more than was received). VERY VERY VERY Well done, Fountainhead.

  4. One more time, a huge thank you to Fountainhead and everyone else involved in making this such a memorable event. A quick look at any of the pre-blasts or the race packet will show a glimpse of just how much work went into this thing. Great job. I’m looking forward to next Labor Day.

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