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Friday November 21st 2014

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Get Muddy—Help Someone Get Clean

By Sarah McCartan

Running is tough enough as it is, why would you want to throw in the extra challenge of crawling through mud, darting away from zombies, balancing on logs, or navigating through electric shock ropes? A skeptic might ask. For others this may seem like a no brainer. After all, who doesn’t love a little bit of an adventure? “Life is either an adventure or nothing.” Right? So why not choose adventure?

In the spirit of adventure, adventure race series have quickly been on the rise with more out of the box options springing up each year—spanning all the way from mud to chocolate. Yes, I said chocolate.

This October, you don’t have to travel out of town for adventure. Thanks to area non-profit, Pathways for Change, those seeking adventure get to have their fill of fun, and mud, at the Pensacola Mud Run, while helping someone else get clean in the process.

“It is going to be a spectacular event, a huge party and lots of fun. I love the tag line—get muddy to help someone get clean!” exclaimed Connie Bookman, executive director of Pathways for Change. “The proceeds of this run will support all Pathways for Change programming, which will help diversify our funding which is critical, as we are very dependent on just a few grants and contributions to sustain our mission.”

Pathways for Change’s mission is changing lives, reducing crime and building futures, by providing literal pathways for individuals to do so, through a variety of programs. This includes Men’s Residential Treatment program, The Family Center, Morris Court Recovery Village, as well as other transition services.

“The Pathways for Change Board of Directors has encouraged a signature fundraiser event for several years, but we could never come up with something that we could relate to, until Tom Allen, the Treasurer of the Board suggested a Mud Run. We all loved the idea and have recruited a stellar committee who is working diligently,” said Bookman.

Thanks to the contribution of acres upon acres of land in Cantonment, the mapping and building out of the course by a seasoned adventure racer, and logistics and marketing assistance from Running Wild, Pathways for Change is able to bring their vision for the debut Pensacola Mud Run to life.

The Course

While it’s fun to leave a bit to the imagination, and course visionaries have even kept a couple of chilling grand finale surprises under wraps, in an effort to clearly preview the course, I was able to trek out to the woods and take an up close and personal look for myself—one that included some balancing, net rolling, and tube diving.

Personally I found the three-mile course to be most similar to a Warrior Dash in nature—and there’s a good chance that’s because that just so happens to be the adventure race I’ve previously completed. What I mean is, the course includes a healthy blend of running and obstacle battling. Tires, hay, rope nets and log carrying, log balancing and hopping, is just a sample of what is in store, and of course, mud, mud and more mud. It only took me testing out one obstacle, which happened to be diving through a giant tunnel filled with mud and water, before my shoes were soaked in mud. That said, it’s best to wear a pair of running shoes that aren’t your Sunday best, or your go-to racers.

In the spirit of adventure, and team building, this shouldn’t be viewed as a race, but rather, an event, an experience, something that provides a challenge, yet is accessible for the masses to come out and enjoy. To ensure that individuals aren’t trampling all over each other while attempting to navigate obstacles, the race is separated into three different start times—7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. It’s recommended to sign up with friends as these groups will be broken down into further subsets. Once you’ve completed the course, there will be fire trucks post-finish line to cleanse you of the mud, or you can choose to stay dirty all day.

For the adults, the race will include an after party. And for the kids, there is muddy fun to be had in the form of a one-mile fun run at 1:30 p.m., followed by a bounce activity space. Spectators are invited to attend the event, and welcome at various points of the course.

2013 PENSACOLA MUD RUN
WHEN: 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12
WHERE: St. Matthews Baptist Church, 3047 County Highway 95A, Cantonment
COST: $70, (Kids run: $35)
DETAILS: pensacolamudrun.com