By Ashley Bouwense
Mt. Olive’s fourth annual Raiders of the Lost Park Mud Run attracted 576 participants who slipped and slid through 16 obstacles of muddy fun 9 a.m. Sat., June 18 at Turkey Brook Park.
The 5K mud run proved to be the best one the town has organized to date with the most participants and obstacles the run has had since its start in 2013.
Racers gathered at the park to check-in at 8 a.m. until the run began at 9 a.m. DJ Louis filled the field with lively music, Philly Pretzel of Hackettstown sold food and drinks and Marty’s Ice Cream sold frozen treats.
There were 22 waves of runners scheduled to participate that day. The first seven waves included only adult teams, the last two waves were designated just for children, and the rest of the waves in the middle were for adult and child teams. Each wave of approximately 25 people was sent out in five-minute increments.
A stand-alone, 3-mile run is challenging alone, but the added 16 muddy obstacles were an added test of endurance. Obstacles like the Mud Pits, Tube Crawls and Mud Bog Log Balance were sure to get runners saturated with mud from head to toe. The Mud Pits were the overwhelming fan-favorite, where runners ran over dirt hills and slogged through pools of three-foot-deep mud water. Some people lost shoes in the sloshy mess!
“This was my first mud run!” college student and second wave runner, Kelly Wenham, said. “My favorite obstacle was walking across logs over pools of mud. It was probably the most challenging for me, and it was awesome to hear the people in line cheering you on the whole time.”
Teams also loved the last part of the race: the giant, soapy slip and slide where runners slid into a victoriously sudsy finish.
At the end of the race, mud-soaked runners could wash off under fire hoses and then enjoy refreshments from local vendors.
The Mt. Olive Parks and Recreation Department works to add new and better obstacles each year, while always keeping in mind the safety of the participants. Work on the run begins in February, where the department team up with the buildings and grounds staff to design the obstacles. It takes about three weeks to prepare the grounds for the event.
“Mt. Olive recreation strives to bring diverse activities that a wide range of people can enjoy,” Recreation Marketing Director Elizabeth Meininger said. “Within our programs and special events, [there are] many opportunities to play, get fit, socialize, learn or just have fun! It doesn’t matter if you or your children are looking for a creative outlet, an invigorating workout, exciting events, competitive or social club sports…we have something for everyone and are always looking to expand our offerings to meet [the town’s] needs and interests.”
Mt. Olive Sam’s Club has been the presenting sponsor for the mud since its start.
The fifth annual Raiders of the Lost Park Mud Run is scheduled for Sat., June 17.