Muddy Gauntlet race in May raises $16,200 for Special Olympics, sponsoring group says

Athletes of varying shapes, sizes and fitness levels got extra dirty this past May for a good cause, raising more than $16,200 for the Special Olympics, it was announced Thursday.

This was the second year that the Western Colorado Contractors Association challenged folks to run “The Gauntlet” — a muddy, obstacle-filled race of nearly three miles, held May 11 near Grand Junction Motor Speedway.

“Nobody has their cellphones, and they leave their cares behind. They just laugh and have a good time,” said Linda Smith, executive director of the group.

“You’ve got all ages, all sizes, people in good shape, people who are out of shape — they don’t care. They’re just out there to have a good time, and bring out the little kid in them.”

The Gauntlet was organized after a trend of similar regional races over the years, like the Warrior Dash and the Tough Mudder, annual events in the high country.

In fact the idea for a local race came to Smith after she saw a picture in a Summit County newspaper of one of WCCA’s board members, Billy Foster, running in a mud-style event. Foster just happened to be dressed as an extremely muddy nun, leaping a fire pit.

“I looked at that picture, and thought, I want to do one of those,” Smith said.

The WCCA — an association of local contractors, subcontractors, professional associates and suppliers that dates to 1948 locally — gave more than $12,000 to the Special Olympics in conjunction with the first year of The Gauntlet.

“When we thought about who we’d like to support, we talked about people who exercise, (and the Special Olympics) just seemed to fit,” Smith said.


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