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Thousands get muddy at Castaic Lake

People compete in the annual Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race

Posted: April 13, 2014 9:22 p.m.
Updated: April 13, 2014 9:22 p.m.

Thomas Meyer moves through a pit of water and mud during the annual Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race at Castaic Lake on Sunday


Thousands of runners got down and dirty Sunday as they competed in the annual Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race at Castaic Lake.

First to cross the muddy finish line was 15-year-old Veejay Jones, who is already a local celebrity among the “mudders” who frequent mud runs across the state such as the annual run put on by Merrell.

Although way out in front, Jones led a pack of runners through more than 20 obstacles set along a 6-mile course on the shores of the lake.

When he got to the mud pit — the last dirty obstacle in a series of demanding physical challenges — Jones hugged the bank of mud pits filled one-foot deep with water.

“I wanted to get through it with the fastest time possible,” he said at the finish line. “So I stayed on the side (of the pit) where the ground is packed. It gives you some grip and lets you run through it faster.”

Other runners who followed Jones into the mud pits welcomed the water — and the mud.

There was 27-year-old Danielle Adams, of Los Angeles, who crossed the finish line mud-splattered and with muddy water streaking down her face and arms. She said she never felt better.

Even though her running team pals chose to sleep in on Sunday, Adams showed up at Castaic Lake determined to compete in honor of her mother who died last year.

“I do it to stay fit, stay healthy and to honor her memory,” she said at the finish line.

Then there was the local father/daughter team of Matt Farrell, 52, and his daughter Adrianna Cruz Farrell, 24.

“I do five days of cardio and three days of (weight)lifting,” Adrianna said, describing her training. “With mud runs you use your whole body, your upper body, lower body.”

Her father, admittedly addicted to mud runs, said: “It’s the competitiveness of them. You train harder and you train faster. It’s an adrenaline rush.”

Raul Engle, 33, of Canyon Country, got just as down and dirty as all his competitors with one difference — he did with a 30-pound pack of bricks on his back.

Engle took the first place among the brick-toting mudders.

“It was great but it was harder than I thought it would be,” he said.

The annual event features two off-road courses ­— one 5 kilometer course, the other 10 kilometers — each beset with military-style obstacles, commanding cargo climbs, wild water crossings and, of course, mud.

The Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race Presented by Subaru and Michael Epstein Sports Productions, Inc., is in support of a cause called Operation Gratitude — a charity that sends personalized care packages to military personnel overseas who deserve our continual support.


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