Brookfield’s village board on Monday night shot down plans for the Badass Dash, a 7K race through the village that would have had participants not only running through the village but conquering more than 20 extreme obstacles.

Trustees told the event’s race director, Brookfield resident Brian Sharenow, they had concerns about parking for the up to 1,500 participants expected to turn out for the event, the lack of an emergency plan, and the date would conflict with a number of other events on race day, Aug. 31, which falls during Labor Day weekend.

“The event is seven weeks away and we have very basic details that haven’t been worked out,” said Village President Kit Ketchmark, during a two-hour discussion about the event during the village board’s July 8 meeting.

The Badass Dash grew out of the Insanity 5K event that Sharenow has run in Brookfield for the past two years. However, village officials became alarmed when the 2013 event grew from having just a handful of obstacle locations to having more than 20, on a longer course that stretched from Kiwanis Park to Riverside-Brookfield High School.

The event was also to have been expanded from a two-hour affair in the morning to an event lasting from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., including a large post-race celebration in Kiwanis Park, where food and liquor would be served.

Sharenow partnered this year with the nonprofit Autism Speaks, and a portion of the proceeds from the Badass Dash would have gone to autism research. There are several other Badass Dash events throughout the country this summer, though none of the others appears to have a course set in a residential area.

In other places, the course is set on a large private property, such as a motor speedway, a resort or campground.

“These events take place in cornfields,” said Village Manager Riccardo Ginex. “It’s rare that they’re done in a municipality, especially a small municipality on Labor Day weekend with a lack of parking and attention to detail.”

Sharenow was clearly frustrated by the village board’s reaction and by what he described as the village moving the goalposts as he sought approval. He said Ginex dismissed an offer to partner on the event and share in the profits, and that the village hasn’t been clear about what it would accept for a race route.

“The only thing I’m hearing is what can’t be done,” said Sharenow, who added he was expecting the village to help him identify solutions to problems such as the course or parking.

“That’s the kind of support I was expecting, and maybe wanting, and what I felt was the opposite — where it’s basically been a lot emails and a lot of correspondence of everything I can’t do, what will not be approved.”

Trustee Michelle Ryan suggested that it was not the village’s job to design the race for Sharenow, just as it wasn’t the village’s job to design house additions. The village board approves the plans.

“We can’t tell you how to design your house; we can tell you what’s not going to work here,” Ryan said.

Part of Sharenow’s frustration also appeared to stem from a misunderstanding of the village board’s support for the expanded event in 2013. Sharenow did appear before the board briefly on March 25 after he signaled to Ginex that he’d like to increase the profile of the event and make it an official part of the nationwide Badass Dash Obstacle Challenge circuit.

At that meeting, the board had few questions, and few details were given at that time. A map of the 2012 course was provided to trustees at that time, which showed just six obstacles and a course that was confined to the neighborhood south of Washington Avenue.

A new map provided Monday, showed a course reaching into Hollywood and near the entrance of Brookfield Zoo containing more than 20 obstacles, which were more complex than the tire mazes and hay bale hills of past races. The obstacles for 2013 included such things as a floating dock in Salt Creek, a 20-by-40-foot swimming pool and a “sedan stack” of vehicles to climb.

Making matters worse for village staff and the village board were the facts that the farmers market would be running that morning, competing for parking space with race-goers, and that a family party had already been scheduled for Kiwanis Park that day.

In addition, there were events taking place that day at Riverside-Brookfield High School, and officials were worried about zoo traffic on a holiday weekend.

“I don’t know what you could do to make me feel this event is doable,” said Trustee Michael Garvey. “I just don’t think we’re ready for it.”

Garvey suggested that the event needs to be held on a Saturday where there are no other conflicts and that planning needs to begin much earlier.

“I think this could be tremendous, but I think it needs to be planned a year out,” Garvey said.

Sharenow said if Brookfield turns away the event, he’ll find another venue for it. He did not say whether he’d seek to work with the village again to make the event happen there next year.

“The event will happen; it just won’t happen in Brookfield,” Sharenow said. “I have a commitment to the fundraising. I can guarantee there will be a race in Chicago.”

7 replies on “Brookfield village board spanks Badass Dash”