Mud Dog Challenge coming to SwantonWritten by Staff Reports | | email@example.com
By Yaneek Smith, Toledo Free Press Staff Writer
In recent years, mud runs have become increasingly popular.
One local event currently generating a lot of local buzz is the Mud Dog Challenge that will take place in Swanton on May 24.
The original mud run, as these events are often called, was started by a Marine, Paul Courtaway, and typically cover 5K (3.1 miles) or 10K (6.2 miles) distances with an abundance of mud and obstacles along the way.
The Swanton course will include obstacles like sand bags, stacked tires, balance beams, sand pit runs, mud pits, a cargo net wall, a 12-foot wall, two 5-foot walls, two 8-foot ladder walls, tunnel slides, tunnel crawls, logs, rocks and hurdles, said Julie Earnest, who oversees the events and owns the course.
The primary course, suited for people age 10 and older, is a 5K, but the children’s race, which is available for kids between the ages of 5-9, is 1 mile. Those competing on the kids’ course will need a parent or guardian present. Those under age 18 will need a parent or guardian to sign a waiver and be present during the event.
One reason for the increasing popularity of mud runs is that they offer a different atmosphere than found in a typical 5K, Earnest said.
“It’s something different for people,” Earnest said. “You’ve got 5Ks and you’ve got people that are getting into these different kinds of training like CrossFit training. It’s a different way for people to test themselves. But to do a 5K and to do it on an obstacle course is new and exciting. Put a little mud and water and it’s pulling people out that never wanted to do a 5K and never wanted to exercise. Now it’s getting people to the gym (to train).
“There’s a lot of inactivity with the kids playing video games. That’s why we added the kids’ race and if we can get their Mom and Dad out there, it can be a great family experience. The atmosphere at these things is wonderful.”
The course exists on land Earnest and her husband, Jeff, own.
“It used to be a motorcross track,” she said. “We resurfaced the track after we saw that mud runs were becoming more popular (and) we saw that we can give back to the community and promote getting healthy and having something to do. We can also give back to a charity or organization that we choose.”
Part of the proceeds for this race will go to support the American Cancer Society.
“I chose them because it’s near and dear to my family,” Earnest said. “I have several members of my family that are battling cancer.”
Registration for the race can be completed online at www.muddogchallenge.com until midnight May 22. Registration will also be available the day of the race. According to the site, a photo ID is required as well as a completed waiver. Participants are advised to bring extra money for food and merchandise and a change of clothes and shoes.
There are two more events tentatively scheduled to be held on July 19 and Sept. 20. The July event will benefit Heroes in Action while the September event will feature a “Glow Run” theme, Earnest said.
The course is also available to rent for corporate team-building events, school and charitable fundraisers and for exercise purposes as well.
This will be the second Mud Dog Challenge, the first of which was held on Nov. 2.
Earnest, a Perrysburg resident, wants there to be a community involvement not just for residents but for businesses, too.
“We want to be able to promote some businesses (and) some health products,” Earnest said. “Maybe they can drum up some business by being out there. They’re able to be there and hand out business cards.”
Event sponsors include Second Sole in Perrysburg, Focus Fitness in Oregon, Awake, a drug-free community coalition in the Anthony Wayne area, Tap Snap, a digital photo company whose franchise owner is based in Fremont, Book That DJ in Toledo and Relay for Life.
Earnest said Jason Kelley will serve as the DJ and Kelly Craig will be there representing Tap Snap.
Photos will be made available on the Mud Dog Challenge’s Facebook page, and can be downloaded for free, Earnest said.
“We are not charging for the photos,” she said. “Most of these mud runs charge for photos. Kelly Craig of Tap Snap is set up and you can take before and after photos. She taps a button on her screen and (the photo) goes out to the Facebook page. It will be out on Facebook and I will put a link. I’ll have a photographer there roaming the area, too.”
The event will take place at 10631 Airport Hwy. in Swanton. For more information, contact Earnest at (419) 279-2643.