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40 Under Forty: The ax-throwing, rope-swinging warriors of Marlborough

40 Under Forty: The ax-throwing, rope-swinging warriors of Marlborough

WORCESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL – It took a special kind of 40 Under Forty winner to want photos taken at the Apex Center in Marlborough.

Here, we had people who were accepting probably the most prestigious award of their young careers, and I was asking, “Hey, for the most visible photo of you for the most-read WBJ print issue, do you mind if we dangle you 20 feet in the air above an arcade?” No wonder the Apex Center was the one location where the most 40 Under Forty winners used their single veto as the photo shoot they definitely didn’t want to do.

It was also the most fun.

Team Apex – Michael P. McDonough, Meredith Harris, Nathan Oriol and Laura Marotta – jumped headlong into the shoot, excited to take advantage of the many offerings Apex Entertainment had to offer. Harris, the executive director of the Marlborough Economic Development Corp., already knew the lay of the land, so she steered the ship and smoothed things over with any wary employees.

First came the ropes course, an intricate system of orange poles and blue rope obstacles usually only meant for one adventurer at a time. All four ascended the course with gusto, particularly Marotta, who rock climbs recreationally. Team Apex hung precariously as photographer Erika Sidor took various shots from below, as the team shuffled through various obstacles. They were completely unphased by the physical strain, with natural athletes like Oriol (a nationally ranked obstacle course runner) and McDonough (a volunteer youth sports coach). In one moment, as I stood on the ropes course just out of the camera shot, shouting directions at the four winners and Sidor, I thought, “This job is so cool.”

Next came the light-up bumper cars in the mirrored playground after McDonough, Harris, Oriol and Marotta switched out of their athletic gear into more professional attire. Even though they had met beforehand and developed a camaraderie with each other, they were still too polite to go full-on bumper car and knock each other into oblivion. Still, they spun in dizzying circles like they were little kids instead of 40 Under Forty winners.

The last shoot of the day came at the indoor ax-throwing funzone Half Axe. Tentative at first with the edge weapons, they embraced their inner Middle Ages warriors and unleashed battle faces to put the extras in the movie “Braveheart” to shame. Afterward, they had a little ax-throwing competition, with all of them eventually nailing the targets.

All the 40 Under Forty photo shoots generally are a good time, with plenty of energy and excitement to go around. Team Apex, though, took it to the next level, loving every minute of it.

This article by Brad Kane originally appeared here.