OGDEN -- At a key corner where they could see both the biking and running portion of Saturday's Hurt in the Dirt endurance race, two kids held up signs that read "Go Dad Go."
Marcus, 6, and Annabella, 8, were sitting on coolers cheering on their father, Derek Ramos, 31, of Hill Air Force Base, at a gruelling race that went back and forth from running and biking through water and over obstacles in the terrain at Fort Buenaventura on Saturday afternoon.
The children -- each wearing brightly colored, tie-died T-shirts they'd received for doing a handful of physical fitness activities -- said they couldn't have been having more fun.
"We're his cheerleaders," said their mother, Emily Ramos. "We've been running all over the different checkpoints to give him water and cheer him on."
And they were planning to be cheering on their dad and husband for a while.
He also was signed up for the "King of Pain" race where the runners were to wear head lamps after dark that night.
"He's been excited for this all summer," Emily said of her husband, a staff sergeant pharmacy technician in the Air Force.
Emily said her family came to the area a year ago from Texas. She said it was refreshing to participate in outdoor events here because it was too hot to do activities like that in Texas. But the Utah heat, which was in the 90s at the start of the endurance race, was a challenging factor.
A number of the participants in the endurance race found themselves in the care of emergency workers as they suffered from heat exhaustion and dehydration Saturday.
Jan Holding, 33, of Kaysville, who was on a two-woman team, said last year's rain gave the race a nicer temperature, but the trails were a lot better this year because there was less sand.
Organizers touted their efforts to repair trails that had been damaged in spring floods. They received a RAMP grant for the improvements as well as to promote the free community event.
Organizers said a lot more racers as well as spectators attended this year.
"We had 150 racers last year," said Bree Montgomery, office manager of the GOAL Foundation that put on the second annual event, designed to promote premier athletic competition and active lifestyles.
"This year, 400 people signed up on-line and we had at least another 200 sign up at the event," she said. "We have quadrupled our numbers."
There was no way to measure the number of spectators but the fort seemed unusually filled with people who were enjoying a fair-like atmosphere.
Roman Jorganson, 22, of Ogden sported a huge smile as he helped kids through an obstacle course that included stretching out an elasticized body pull, running through Hula Hoops on the ground, over hurdles and through a hoop.
"It's just cool to see the new generation of kids to actually give me hope for the future," he said.
A runner and a dancer himself, Jorganson said he has been saddened to see athletics cut in a lot of schools but he was excited to see talent developing in children anyway.
"There is a little girl that ran the whole thing in 15 seconds," he said. "Some of those kids ran five or six times just to beat their own time. We need to challenge them and then leave them alone. Let them do it themselves."