The Commando Aqua Run claims a victim at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Aquatic Center unveiled its newest water attraction Friday morning — a 51-foot-long obstacle course inflatable called the “Commando Aqua Run.”
Kari Matheney, director of the KAC, said staff began exploring the idea back in the spring of bringing a new feature to the indoor facility to help draw people in with a summertime feature during the winter months.
The KAC narrowed the list down to two possible inflatables and put the final selection up for a vote on its Facebook page a few weeks ago.
Fans voted, and the Commando Aqua Run was the top choice.
“It is a 51-foot, dual lane run where two people will go at the same time and race each other to the end,” Matheney said. “It’s more of an obstacle course and not as tough as Wipe Out. It is something similar to that where people have to crawl under, around or over and slide down into the water on the far end.”
The aqua run will be set up in the HMG Competition Pool near the deep end and run across the length of the pool. Matheney said the low dive and high dive will still be accessible. Patrons will get on the inflatable from the side of the pool, roughly in front of the life guard office.
Matheney said people wishing to use the Aqua Run will first have to pass a basic swim test.
“Anyone can get on it as long as they can pass the swim test. It’s not something we’re going to regulate based on height or age,” Matheney said. “Swimming 20 yards without touching the bottom, then they’ll be issued a wrist band and be allowed to use the inflatable.”
The inflatable went live on Friday at 11 a.m. with what the KAC called “Aqua Blue Friday” as an alternative to the Black Friday shopping craze.
The Aqua Run will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on special days such as the day after Christmas and New Year’s Day. It is also included in the indoor private pool rentals.
“I think people are getting excited. My staff was super excited, and we’ve had several people ask when we’re going to set it up,” she said.
Matheney said staff has not decided whether the Aqua Run will be used during the summer months.
Kingsport purchased the Commando Aqua Run for $8,000.