CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381

Fear Is Not An Option during Gadsden’s Barbarian Challenge

Decatur, Ala. – Thrill-seeking athletes who are not afraid of getting muddy, wet and pushed to the limit will be taking part in Gadsden’s Barbarian Challenge, a six-mile obstacle course run through scenic Noccalula Falls Park. With a motto of “Fear Is Not An Option,” over 1,200 participants are already registered to participate in the eighth-annual extreme competition set for June 19, 2021. Registration is open at

The Barbarian Challenge course is approximately six miles long and includes more than 20 natural and challenging human-made obstacles and tough terrain. The course takes participants into the Black Creek Gorge and up close and personal with Noccalula Falls. This year’s event is a North America and World OCR Series qualifier, drawing top talent to the Barbarian battlefield. More information is available at 

The Barbarian Challenge is for those 12 years old and older. Anyone under the age of 15 must have their parent or guardian present to sign a consent waiver and run with them. Youth participants that do not have an adult to run with them, please send an email to to be connected with a youth guide during the competition.

Race or “horde” times are at 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m. for competitors and 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 11 a.m. for non-competitors. All finishers receive a Barbarian medal. The overall female and male winners from the 8 a.m. horde will receive the coveted Barbarian Sword. Age category winners will be selected from the fastest overall in the first three competitive hordes. Returning again this year are Athena and Clydesdale categories with awards for men over 225 pounds and women over 165 pounds. The awards ceremony will start at approximately noon. 

The smallest barbarians can participate in the Kid’s Barbarian Challenge competition, sponsored by The Factory. The race is open to kids 5 to 12 years old and will feature 10-15 obstacles over a one-mile course. Finishers receive a medal, and early registrants will also receive a t-shirt and goody bag. 

In addition to the race, there will be food vendors selling barbarian-inspired food. Shuttles will be available from nearby parking areas. The event is held rain or shine and admission and parking are free to spectators. 

A packet pick-up party will be held Friday, June 18th from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Kiwanis Pavilion at Noccalula Falls Park. Barbarian Challenge and Kid’s Barbarian Challenge participants can pick up their race packets and visit with other competitors. 

The Barbarian Challenge is organized and staged by the City of Gadsden’s Parks and Recreation Department and is presented by Greater Gadsden Area Tourism. The Barbarian Challenge is held at Noccalula Falls Park located at 1500 Noccalula Road in Gadsden, Ala. Pets are not allowed. For more information, visit or call Christina Richardson with City of Gadsden Parks and Recreation at 256.549.4663.

About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @VisitNorthAL and like us at