5K race made for ‘mudders’

Like to play in the mud?

Then you might want to join the more than 200 people planning to participate in the Marietta Family YMCA’s Marietta Mudder 5K race Saturday morning at the Washington County Career Center.

“It’s an 18-obstacle course that includes a mud pit, a mud hill, cargo net climb, ‘spider webs,’ and many more-and if it rains, so much the better-they’re going to get muddy anyway,” said Kaitlyn Thorn, membership director for the YMCA.

The race is a first for Marietta, although mudder events are growing in popularity across the U.S.

“They’re very popular in some areas of the country, so when some of our patrons expressed an interest we decided to put together a Marietta Mudder,” Thorn explained. “As of Wednesday morning we already had 150 people registered online, and we’re expecting a total of between 200 or 250 will be registered online and at the gate by the time the race begins Saturday.”

She noted online registration for the event ended at midnight Wednesday, but people are more than welcome to register on site beginning at 7 a.m. on the day of the race.

The 5K race, for ages 14 and older, begins at 9 a.m., and a shorter, “mini-mudder” for ages 6 to 13 will be held at 11 a.m. Trophies will be awarded for first, second and third places in men’s and women’s categories for the 5K race, while ribbons will be awarded for participation in the mini-mudder.

Career center Superintendent Dennis Blatt, who plans to participate, said he has had some experience with mudder events.

“My wife and I, with my daughter and son-in-law, did a ‘tough mudder’ 10K event with 24 obstacles- including ice baths-at a ski resort in Virginia,” he said. “It was October and the temperature was about 30 degrees, but it was a lot of fun.”

Blatt and his wife took a dry run of the Marietta Mudder course Sunday.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “But people should keep in mind that this is not really a race, although there will be some folks treating it as one. It’s something that people can do at their own physical pace and they should just feel good about participating and encouraging others along the course.”

YMCA Executive Director Suzy Zumwalde agreed.

“This course is challenging, but not as extreme as some national events,” she said. “And it’s a physical challenge, but it should be a lot of fun, too.”

Blatt noted that WCCC students in landscaping, carpentry and heavy equipment programs helped develop the mudder course and have worked with Y staff on the project over the last six months.

YMCA program director Charlie Wilson said showers will be set up so that contestants can wash off after the race, and awards will be handed out at the Boathouse BBQ, 218 Virginia St., following the race.

Zumwalde said the Y plans to make the mudder an annual event.