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For the love of mud

Annual event takes fitness to a muddy extreme

Posted: September 17, 2009 10:30 p.m.
Updated: September 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Mark Schoelen crawls through the last part of the course at the 14th Annual Mud Run at Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic on Sunday.

 
Mark Twain once said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  

That’s exactly what over 700 bold and daring race participants experienced as they entered the 14th annual Mud Run. This is the one event people will be talking about — for years to come.

As the “commander” of The Fitness Edge Boot Camp and a strong supporter of setting goals, I recruited more than 50 Fitness Edge Boot Camp members to join me for an event of a lifetime this past Sunday.  Here’s what we encountered:

Just as the participants were waiting for the official start — little did they know that the fire truck nearby wasn’t just for looks. All those who forgot to drink their morning coffee were treated to a cold, “eye awakening” morning shower.   

“I love the big fire hose at the start of the race. The water is cold and wakes you right up — it’s uncommon to have a race start that way,” said Domingo Mata of Valenica, who is on his second Mud Run.

Just as the spray subsided, they were treated to another special effect of extreme winds from overhead.

“This military helicopter comes circling above and lowered and lowered until they were just in the right spot to kick up a massive dust cloud, when suddenly BANG! — off goes an explosive. While the ladies screamed and ducked for cover, the men took off running and the race was on,” said Dr. Clare Macaulay-Lintereur of Santa Clarita and mother of six.

Once the runners pierced through the wall of smoke, they ran over sand, rocks and soggy fields before meeting up with the first “shoe eating” mud pit. This is where those boots and long pants really come in handy.  

“These pits were awesome. They had uneven bottoms and several parallel walls of dirt to section off compartments. The walls were maybe 6-8 feet high, so you’d scramble up and then plunge or slip down into the next section of mud or muddy water. Sometimes they were deep and short, sometimes long,” Lintereur said.  

They slithered on through to an intense hill with a steep incline and decline leading on to the cargo netting obstacle course. “This is my favorite part of the race,” said Stephen Tako, captain of Team Fitness Edge.

“Climbing that netting over that wooden pole is not as easy as you would think. You really have to pull your body weight up and over. So, I helped my other team mates and then I flipped over it head first to get to the other side.”

Tako’s team won second place.

The last mud pit was the most entertaining (for the spectators of course). This pit was covered with a blanket of ropes on top of the water.

Participants were greeted with cheers from the crowds of people and another ear piercing blast from a M-60.  

They “fell in” one by one, crawling under crisscrossed ropes that force their bodies to stay low and remain under.

They scale up the highest and last mound on the course and roll down the other side of the mound. They are now home free. Just a few more yards and they’ll hit the finish line, celebrate and shower.

“I am hooked on the Mud Run. It is such so much fun doing this with all my friends. This is my fourth Mud Run and will keep coming back again and again. You can’t help but love all the camaraderie and excitement and nice looking men running without their shirts on,” said Angela Reynolds of Stevenson Ranch.

“My friends all think I am a rock star, little do they know that with the right training, they could be ‘on tour’ with me,” said Jordana Capra, Saugus resident and actress, who has completed six Mud Runs.

“This kind of event is made worthwhile not only because of your own accomplishment, but mostly because you get to share it with your friends, and maybe even make some new friends while there.”

Capra expressed that in the past she was never athletic, but because of her training, she gained the strength and confidence to cross the finish line arm in arm with the five members of her team named the “The Dirty Hoors.”

“I just loved the grittiness of this race — the dousing with the fire hoses, the helicopter making a dust screen, the smoke bombs and the mud. It was also a glimpse into the world of the peace officers who keep us safe every day; I really enjoyed seeing swat, firefighters, LAPD and explorers all out there competing, showing camaraderie and loving it,” Lintereur said.

She won first place in the female division with a time of 38 minutes.

“It was a great feeling to be a part of such a big group who all trained together,” said Karen Gagnon of Santa Clarita. “I would have never imagined doing a race like this unless I had joined the troopers with Fitness Edge Boot Camp. It was challenging but you can’t help but laugh and have fun while slinging mud at your friends along the course.”

Working toward a goal may do more to improve your physique and mental health than you might think.  Experts recommend picking an event that will require physical training like a walk-a-thon or 5k. According to a recent study, runners reported that just completing the event or race gave them an increased sense of accomplishment.

Newcomers and seasoned veterans alike agreed that they felt more confident and more powerful in all areas of their lives after completing the race. They felt stronger mentally and physically and more able to master problems at work and in relationships.   

The Mud Run attracts everyone from “soccer moms” to Navy Seals and members of the Special Enforcement Bureau. The event was open to all ages and fitness levels. In fact, there was a special course set up just for kids. You can enter as a group, or for those who are little more competitive, you can enter as individual.  

The annual Mud Run is held each year at the Pitchess Detention Center Equestrian Facility and is put together by the Special Enforcement Bureau (SWAT, Air Rescue Paramedics, K-9 and the Sheriff’s Department).

Proceeds from this event go to a variety of charities such as the City of Hope and Downed Officers Foundation. Contact Jeff Riggin at (323) 264-7084 for more information.

So, go ahead, step out of your comfort zone, try something new. You can never set sail and discover new territory until you let go of the dock. I look forward to writing your success story next year.  

Cheryl Broughton is co-founder of Vivavitamins.com, an author, founder of The Fitness Edge Boot Camp and producer, of Cheryl Broughton’s Secret Weapons. Call 1-888-671-6500 or www.FitnessEdgeBootCamp.com.

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