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'Mudders' get down and dirty at Castaic Lake mud run

Posted: April 14, 2013 9:08 p.m.
Updated: April 14, 2013 9:08 p.m.
Hundreds participated Sunday in the annual Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race at Castaic Lake. Hundreds participated Sunday in the annual Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race at Castaic Lake.
Hundreds participated Sunday in the annual Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race at Castaic Lake.

They call themselves the “Dirty Girls,” and on Sunday the four friends from Stevenson Ranch worked hard running, scrambling, climbing and crawling to get head-to-foot dirty in the Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race at Castaic Lake.

In unison, at the end of the annual mud run, three of the four Dirty Girls confessed: “It was our first time.”

They all pointed to their pal, Carolyn Braman.

“She’s the trouble-maker,” they said. “She talked us into it.”

As a result, Lucy Sullivan, Teresa Mansor and Michelle Ruiz are now hooked on mud running, vowing they return next year to do it all over again.

At least 5,000 participants including adults and children, many as mud-covered family units and couples, competed in an obstacle course at Castaic Lake, according to run spokeswoman Erica Taylor.

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

Organizers predicted 10,000 participants this year and reported 4,000 at last year’s run. As it turned out, at least a couple of experienced “mudders” interviewed Sunday, convinced friends to join them this year.

“It was super tiring but super fun,” said Shannon Smith who made the trip from Long Beach with three friends.

“It was freezing this morning,” she said. “We were expecting it to be hot not cold.”

Participants gathered at the lake at 8 a.m. and signed up for a variety of mud run routes.

“We were running and there were obstacles, but we didn’t hit the mud until a mile and a half in,” Smith said.

Like the “Dirty Girls,” the four friends from south of Los Angeles pointed to the one friend who had done the mud run before and loved it.

“They talked me into me,” said Katie Burwick from Huntington Beach, who joined Smith and her other two friends Sunday for the 5K run.

“It was an adventure,” she said. “I had never done it before, and I’ll probably do it again.”

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.

Organizers encouraged children ages 4-13 to take part in the Adventure Kids series, featuring tike-size obstacles for a 100-yard dash or 1-mile course.

Two young pals, Juliette Miller of Valencia and Maya DeWier of Castaic, each of them 7 years old, embraced the mud — sparingly, meaning they kept their smiling faces clean.

The adults, who ran alongside the course cheering them on, had only one thing to say about the effort: “Next year, we’re doing it.”

In their press release, mud run organizers described Operation Gratitude as seeking “to lift the morale of service men and women deployed to hostile territories around the world by sending personalized care packages containing food, hygiene products, entertainment items and letters of appreciation.”

They reported having raised over $130,000 for the organization and remain committed to raising $130,000 more to support the efforts and mission of this volunteer organization.


on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


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