Annual mud run offers challenges, fun to new, experienced runners alike

Papillion Half Marathon

The 2016 annual Nebraska Sports Council Mud Run will take place in Lincoln on Aug. 20. The  three mile course will feature multiple mud pits, a giant slip-n-slide and many other obstacles. The race will include different divisions such as the tethered three person team and the one-mile Mini Mud Run.

After the race, participants can give their dirty shoes to Green Sneakers, an organization that cleans and distributes shoes to people in need throughout the world. There will also be an after party with food, drinks, music and the awards ceremony.

Natalie Strawhecker, a junior nutrition science major and member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln running club, will be running the Nebraska Sports Council Mud Run for the first time. She became interested in running the summer before her freshman year of college. As a volleyball and soccer player in high school, she knew she wanted to remain active in college. One practice with the running club got her hooked on races.

“I am doing 16 races in 2016, and I thought it would be fun to throw in a mud run since I have never done one before,” Strawhecker said. “I am doing the individual division, which means I will compete in a three mile obstacle course with mud pits and creek crossings.”

The individual division will use chip time and split up runners based on age. Groups include: 19 & Under, 20-29 years, 30-39 years, 40-49 years, 50-59 years and 60 and over.

Tethered teams are a three person, three mile run. Each team will be given a 16-foot bungee cord in their packets to tie themselves together before the race.

One identifying number will be handed out per team, and it must be worn by runner one. Chip timing must be worn by runner two. If the team’s bungee cord breaks, the team must hold hands and continue to run together for the remainder of the race. The mini-mud run is one mile and open to anyone. This event will not use chip time, but will have a clock at the finish line.

“I run several times a week, but that is my only training.” Strawhecker said. “I do not have a time goal. I just want to finish.”

For finishing the Mud Run, the participants will receive a “Mud Run ‘16” shirt, along with other sponsor gifts. In the individual division, gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded to the top three males and females in each age group. The tethered team awards include a gold, silver and bronze medal to each team member of the top three teams. All runners that finish the Mini Mud will receive a participation medal after crossing the finish line.

There will also be awards for the best costume. Participants that decide to enter the costume contest must get their photo taken in front of the backdrop at the check-in station between 8- 11 a.m. Judges will select the winner during the races, and the winner will receive a special prize at the awards ceremony.

Combining community engagement with fun activities creates an atmosphere some runners look forward to every year.

“I ran mud runs in the past and I really recommend it because it is a great way to get out into the community,” said UNL sophomore Autumn Marion.  “I suggest to do it with friends. You do not even realize how much you are working. It is an overall great experience.”

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