Slogging through the Trench Trap are Dirt Digger and the Mud Honeys in yellow, captained by Shawn Beane, and TricerCops in blue led by Shannon Yeatman. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
By Pete Zamplas- About 1,000 people braved slick mud, icy water and drenching puddles galore on a fun yet challenging obstacle course Saturday, in the three-mile Mad Mountain Mud Run.
The fifth annual race benefits Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, the interactive educational non-profit museum at 318 N. Main St. in Hendersonville. Its founder and executive director, Heather Boeke started the obstacle race as an innovative fundraiser.
Competitors agree with her intent of drawing a broader range of runners by not being as continually-grueling as “spartan” obstacle courses, yet providing a handful of solid tests for more elite racers and plenty of hazards for others. It is distinct as among few muddy obstacle races.
The swiftest took just over a half-hour, others twice as long or more. The course covers about 40,000 square feet, through the park and old quarry and by the historic, industrial league ballfield.
The Mud Run finale, Last Muddy Chance, is quite a splash for Team Redeemed captained by Christopher Worsham. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
The crowded contest and its festival has helped popularize the site, the City of Hendersonville’s renovated Berkeley Park by the Kimberly-Clark plant.
Hazards include water pits and muddy paths, with hidden rocks and stumps. Messiest include from ducking below low logs in Trench Trap dug by Pace Construction. Swamp Slush required crawling beneath ribbons. The grand finale was sliding through one of four tubes to splash into a giant puddle, in Last Muddy Chance.
Other obstacle names include Super Stomach Slide, Muddobbers Crawl, Hard Rock Climb, Mad Mountain, Wall of Mudders, Tire Flippin’, Teeter or Totter, Over/Under Logs, and Spools of Fun. There were 31 points, including jogs through woods and briars.
“It was fun getting dirty” for a good cause, mud-drenched Morgen Yeakley of Marshall said. She raced as among 4 Bad Mudders, captained by Heather Webb. Like many in the race, Yeakley is more used to foot races than “crawling and slopping through the mud” and confronting obstacles. But she likes how “it breaks up the running.”
The Rope Climb was racers’ consensus choice, as most thwarting. Many said its ropes were too slick and thick to firmly grasp. A team member had to climb, then hit and ring a bell 18 feet high. Six ropes were held up by a Jim’s Crane Service’s crane.
Adam McCraw’s Our Name is Mud squad, 10th among males, planned for McCraw to ascend the rope. But he soon yielded, calling for teammate Ryan Snowden to try. Snowden instinctively figured how to grasp the rope with ankle, to shimmy up it. McCraw said running backwards up a hill was also awkward.
Mulch Mound, which preceded ropes, was 20 feet high and very wide. Runners climbed it. Some were doused by water-squirting youths. Soon after came Dumpster Diving, into a vault of oft-replenished ice water at least four feet deep.
“Oh, it’s cold! But it feels great!,” Katie Combs of Dirty 30 proclaimed. Weather felt a bit humid, but rather mild — below 80 degrees, with some breeze and no rain. Rain delayed the family fun mud mile the night before. Water bottles were given to racers Saturday, after each mile.
Qualified teams have at least four runners, and must finish while holding hands.
Races churned through the muddy, messy Trench Trap and ducked under its logs. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
Top five team finishers in the fastest of three levels, Masters of Mud, among all-male squads were: captain Jarod Connell’s squad (32:08), Drew Schweikert’s Team Triple B (35:46), Samuel Sinyard’s Hold My Beer…(36:04), Luke Hollingsworth’s Hendo Warriors (36:23), Auden Brennan’s The Dolphin Rockets (36:37), and McGuire Hunter’s “Armudillos” (36:43). They were also the top six fastest overall.
Murky Mud Mates is the medium level. Max Burgin’s Chafing the Dream (45:46) did best, among male-based teams. Next were Carrie Maines’ Trails Turbo Turtles (49:25), Carson Robertson’s Super Swampers (50:57), Harvey Grant’s Sod Busters (51:55), Tamara Bernazky-Alm’s Mudder Truckers (53:51), and City Mgr. John Connet’s city team at 53:57.
Nitty Gritty Mud Lovers, for ages 12 and elder, is least competitive. Three of its male-based teams finished in less than an hour: Blake Kinsey’s The Hippie Liberal Method (54:23), Seth Grant’s Flavor 1st Corp. (55:19), and Angie Austin’s Mud Flaps Corp. (57:42).
Top five all-female Masters of Mud were Jared Mobley’s Pretty Little Mudders (37:45; seventh overall), Alisa Salvaggio’s Muddy Buddies (39:42; 10th overall), Kathy Michelson’s Sup Broads! (39:58) which also broke the 40-minute mark, Elizabeth Swanger’s Heroes of the Mud (45:17), and Katie Cox’s Breakout Badasses (48:44).
Nikki Shevidy’s Holy Grit (42:36) easily won among Murky females — by six and a half minutes. The Grit also outdid all murky male squads, and was 15th overall. Amelia Shore’s Mystery Gang (55:50) was the sole Nitty female squad faster than an hour.
Co-ed, master-level was led by Roberson High’s recent state butterfly swim champ Mary-O Soule’s Soul(e) Train (38:01; eighth overall). The next four are Reed Handlery’s C.O.R.E. (41:50), Dan Ruiz’s The Muditopians (44:02), Paul Bakke’s Whole Body Fitness (46:00), and Amanda Armstrong’s Madison Mudcats (47:52).
A dozen mid-level co-ed squads beat the hour mark, led by: Damian Tody’s Blaisdell (45:47), Tyler Kilpatrick’s The Mudfits (47:29), Dustin Smith’s Breakout Mud Stompers (47:30), Tige Hopper’s Synergizers (48:16), and Ella Boeke’s Harlem Mud Kitties (48:50). Chris Helton’s Gibson Pest Control, Inc. (58:19) was the sole Co-ed Nitty squad faster than an hour.
Team names included Scrambled Legs and Achin, Mudder Truckers, Mudder Fockers; and Mud, Sweat and Beers.
Three Shrinks and a Lady (Katie Allen) take an icy plunge. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
There was a costume contest, and two “brain challenges” along the course. One was on math, the other spotting colorful objects.
Mud racers enjoyed a BBQ post-race meal with beer at the festival, as the Stipe Bros. played rock blends.