Give us some mud!
It's hip to get dirty for fun, fitness and charity
Mud is the new black. Slogging through mud for fun and fitness is popular nationally and internationally with the Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash.
And in the Grand Valley, getting dirty comes in the form of The Gauntlet, which is set for Saturday, May 11, Try to Survive the Filthy Five and Mudd Volleyball.
“Mud’s the thing right now,” said Emily Wright, race coordinator for Grand Junction Parks and Recreation’s Filthy Five. “Who doesn’t love mud?”
The Filthy Five is a timed muddy 5-kilometer obstacle race with a raffle instead of prizes. There is also a race for kids, called the Filthy Kid, which is a 1.5K race.
The Filthy Five is in its second year and the course will be tougher than last year, Wright said.
“Every year, as the event race coordinator, I have to make the obstacles better and bigger,” Wright said.
New to the mud lineup this year is the March of Dimes’ Mudd Volleyball.
Similar to a mud event popular in the Denver area, the Western Slope March of Dimes decided to expand Mudd Volleyball to this side of Colorado because of growing interest.
People enjoy the challenge that mud brings, said Terri Jones, the division director of the Western Slope March of Dimes.
“Mud’s not easy,” Jones said. “It’s hard to move in that mud once you get sloshing around in it.”
This muddy event will feature co-ed volleyball teams in a round robin bracket. The winners of the championship game will receive a trophy and bragging rights.
Even better, participants will play around in the mud with the knowledge that they are supporting a cause, which in the case of Mudd Volleyball is the March of Dimes’ research into preventing premature birth and birth defects and resources for those who have a baby born prematurely.
Similarly, the Filthy Five benefits United Way of Mesa County and this Saturday’s The Gauntlet supports Western Colorado’s Special Olympics athletes.
The Gauntlet’s muddy, obstacle-laden three miles are much more interesting than a regular run, said Julie Fite, western area manager for the Special Olympics.
With all that mud, “I think it’s a little switch up from the regular 5Ks and 10Ks,” Fite said. “It just adds a little bit more fun.”
Fite participated in The Gauntlet in 2012 and said it was “a hoot.”
“There were parts of it that were tough, but I’m not really a runner. So the obstacles were probably easier than the actual running,” Fite said.
The Gauntlet gives everyone who participates a T-shirt and “swag,” and those who are 21 and over get a ticket for a beer. The top two female and male finishers in each age division receive a LOKI hat.
This is the second year for The Gauntlet, and this year the race is longer and has more obstacles, Fite said.
Alyson Shuman, a Mount Garfield Middle School eighth-grader, and her brother, Jay Shuman, a freshman at Palisade High School, participated in The Gauntlet last year.
Jay did it for the challenge; Alyson, for the fun.
“You started off running up a hill with some mud on it, Alyson said. “And going around in a circle a little bit. And up a huge hill and sliding down it.”
After the muddy hill, there was a trench of muddy water, Jay said.
“There were pipes just hanging over, so sometimes you had to go over and then under. Then there were some tires you had to climb over,” Jay said. “There were also a bunch of obstacles, like a giant balance beam.”
There was no way to stay clean.
“I was completely covered in mud because of a mud pit,” Jay said, “So at the end, you’re like soaked.”
But that’s the point.