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Muddy Mamas Mud Run an effort to 'inspire women of all ages'

September 07, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Morgan Pettner of Hagerstown closes her eyes as she crawls through a mud pit Saturday afternoon during the Muddy Mamas Mud Run at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.
By Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

Maybe they were the ones who sat for hours in the backyard making mud pies as girls.

Maybe even as those little girls grew up, the visceral appeal of playing in dirt and water just never quit calling.

On Saturday morning, around 1,000 women of all ages answered the call, running, sliding and sometimes even diving head-on into muck and grime, all the while grinning, whooping and hollering, at the Muddy Mamas Mud Run.

Girls on the Run of Washington County and Girls Inc. of Washington County partnered to host the run, which ran approximately 5 kilometers across the grounds of the Washington County Agricultural Education Center and included 15 — mostly muddy — obstacles.

Stacy Hade of Girls Inc. said the run was an effort to “inspire women of all ages.”

“This is a chance for women to just come out here and get down and dirty in the mud, get active, get healthy and just really get a girl-bonding experience,” she said.

Girls on the Run is a nonprofit youth development program that uses running to promote self-respect and healthy lifestyles in preteen girls. Girls Inc. also is a nonprofit that aspires to help girls become “strong, smart and bold.”

Registration cost $30 for girls ages 10 to 18 and $60 for women 18 and older.

Groups, or “waves,” of runners took off along the course every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to noon. Runners had the option to circumvent the obstacles, though most opted to complete them.

Bobby Kelso, 30, of Waynesboro, Pa., was apprehensive as she approached obstacle No. 14, “Climbing the Corporate Ladder,” a series of monkey bars perched over a mud bath.

“I can’t do it,” she said, looking down.

Volunteer Dave Ruff cheered her on as she swung rung by rung all the way across.

“I did it,” she said. “I am so proud!”

Laura Tipton, 34, of Hagerstown said she liked that the event was appropriate for women of all fitness levels, whether they wanted to take it easy or push hard.

“There are many different women doing this. It’s not for the athletic. It’s not for beginners. It’s for everybody in between,” she said.

Kimberly Wales, 43, and her daughter, Jessica Wales, 23, of Inwood, W.Va., dressed in colorful tutu-like skirts and matching T-shirts. The two said they liked being able to run with just girls.

“This is a place where all women can just get together, being women, without the men, just having fun and just getting dirty. It’s empowering to women,” Jessica Wales said.

Some husbands and children waited at the obstacles with cameras and iPads to record the muddy moments.

Obstacle No. 12, “Shut the Front Door!” was an 18-foot custom-made inflatable slide requiring a rope climb up one side leading to a steep, slippery slide into a pool of mud on the other.

Andrew Herbst, 24, of Ringgold and his friend, Tommy Morrisey, 24, also of Ringgold, stood near the muddy slope as Herbst’s wife, Megan Herbst, 22; Morrisey’s fiancee, Liz Beck, 24; and their friend, Jeni Malott, 28, squealed into a muddy splash.

Beck, who recently had laser eye surgery, sprang up, ran to wipe her muck-covered eyes with Morrisey’s shirt, and bolted back onto the course.

Herbst said the event was “a great fundraiser.”

“It’s cool. People are really excited to do it, and it looks like they are having fun,” he said.

Anderson Photographs was set up near the finish line to provide post-race photography, while showers, then food and fitness vendors were just outside the course area.

Sue Fahey of Girls on the Run said organizers were “a little scared” by the scope of the first-year event as they worked out details and logistics.

“There were a lot of things to think of. We have about 100 volunteers, and there were little things that you don’t think of like licensing and safety issues,” she said.

Miranda Jackson, 22, of Bloomington, Md., who ran with her friends, Brienna Troutman, 17, of Cumberland, Md., and Cheriann Hester, 24, of Frostburg, Md., said despite the challenges, organizers got it right.

“It was definitely more intense and more fun than we expected,” she said. “The obstacles were really well planned out. It was a blast for all of us.”

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