There were 675 finishers of the three-mile obstacle course in Berkeley Park, near the Kimberly-Clark plant in Hendersonville. Its 31 stations started with “Culvert Jumping,” a “Creepy Crawl” and Balancing Act and concluded with the Muddy Hill Climb, Tired Yet and Culvert Slide Mud Pit. There was a Mud Slide, Trench Trap, Teeter or Totter, Mad Mountain Hill, Cow Bell Climb up a rope and the freezing and alarming Dumpster Dive.
People competed either as a timed or untimed individual, or a timed team of four — male, female co-ed or “incomplete team.”
The five fastest female individuals were Jill Matulis (34:18.6), Diane Cook (35:45.5), Avida Easler (36:35.2) and Dorothee Kellinghusen (38:09.8) who is age 56.
Five fastest males were Chis Stevens (29:40.8), Tim Kellinghusen (30:12.8), Kevin Keyzer (30:47.6), Joseph Manzi (31:12.8) and William Tanner (31:29.5).
Top five all-male teams were 20 Seconds (29:54), Team Co-op 3 (35:28.1), Just Muddin’ around (35:43.4), Low Expectations (36:04.9) and The Brothahood (36;13.9). All-female teams were led by Mudder Butters (37:23.1), Burn Mamas (43:40.6), Buns on the Run (47:20.7), Team MoveFit 2 (47:42.4) and Muddy Mammas (47:49.8).
Co-ed teams’ swiftest times were by Crossfit HVL Mud Militia (33:06.6), Troop Skarloey (34:47.2), Chafting the Dream (36:25.3), Burnsville Beatdown (38:03.7), Swoll Squad (40:55.2), Team Co-op (41:36.8), and Swole Mates (43.09.2).
Tribal Councel (44:51.3) edged Mud, Sweat & Beers (45:31.7) among the eight incomplete teams.
Beyond many of those top finishers, there were clever team names such as Mud Slingers, Muddy Ducks, Mudder Fockers, Baptized in Muddy Water, Mud and Mascara, IV Leagers, and We Got This.
Competitors came from across western N.C. and beyond. Dorothee Kellinghusen has lived in this area for 13 years, but two days after the race flew back to her native Germany. She said it was quite a way to celebrate her time in the U.S. She ran with her son Tim, age 19, the male runner-up. Tim said the toughest parts included Flipping Tires in Mud, and pulling tires in Tired Yet.
That second to last challenge is aptly named, as people battle fatigue while lifting tires. Competitors had to put tires onto a post, or take them off if they were already on the post. Every so often, a tire errantly bounced and rolled down a small hill.
In one such case, Austin Browning hustled full-tilt after a tire, got it, then rolled it back while charging back up the hill. No wonder he is an athlete of recent vintage, and used to grueling challenges. Browning, 22, an “App State” student, was a Pisgah Bear receiver. His final season was 2013, Brett Chappell’s first year of coaching there.
“There was no reason to stop” and slow down his finish time, Browning said.
Hendersonville Community Co-op fielded three teams — one more than usual. Team two’s John Mansfield splashed so heartily into the mud pond finale that his face and beard were full of mud.
“We had a good time,” said Co-op General Manager Damian Tody, who captained team one. He said the fastest of the three teams earned “bragging rights” at work.
Many were eager for the physical challenge, others to help Hands On! Tody realizes team-building gains that are useful in the work environment. “We worked hard together. It was a great team effort.”
In pacing, at times the other three waited moments for a laggard to catch up. But other times, they kept up the pace in hopes the other person caught up. Tody said that more typically, one person was faster moving up front to step up the group’s pace.
Climbing the high wall was a bear, Tim Buckner said. His son Dillon, 13, cited rope climbing. Dillon was 11th fastest among males, at 34:46.1 — a minute and half ahead of his father.
They paced each other. Behind them, Tim’s wife Stephanie and their 12-year-old daughter Morgan ran together. Tim splashed head-first into the muddy pond finale last year in his first-ever Mud Run, but feet-first this time.
The Buckners live near Leicester, in Big Sandy Mush. They felt at home in the course’s big muddy mush.