ABINGDON, Va. — Are you ready to get dirty?
A mud run — the world’s dirtiest new fad — will attract outdoor enthusiasts of all ages when the Washington County Habitat for Humanity hosts the second annual 5K Habitat Mud Run in Abingdon, a fundraising event for the local affiliate.
Mud runs, also known as obstacle course races, are running events that include a variety of obstacles. The competitive events feature mud — and plenty of it.
The mud-and-obstacle-races for adults and children are Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Southwest Virginia 4-H Educational Center.
The timed adult race begins at 9:30 a.m. with registration at 9 a.m. and will feature more than 14 different obstacles, including monkey bars, balance beams, a mud slide and a peg wall. A smaller obstacle course race for children 16 and younger begins at 9 a.m. and will feature a tube to crawl through, tires to run through and balance beams.
The obstacles, which cover 3.1 miles, will test the endurance of athletes young and old who enjoy the challenge of navigating in mud.
Reed Brozen, of New Hampshire, was among 70 participants in last year’s race. He just happened to be in town visiting his family when he learned about the event. Although it was his first mud run, the athlete finished with one of the best times, completing the race in 32 minutes.
According to Krystal Kayton, executive director of the Washington County nonprofit organization, the average time to finish is 45 minutes.
“It was an exciting race,” said Brozen. “Even though I was prepared for the obstacles, each one was a new encounter. I’m sure their intent is for you to slither around in mud and get muddy and wet, which is exactly what happened.”
His shirt was permanently stained, and his shoes got so muddy that he only uses them now for trail running at his home.
Proceeds from the Mud Run will benefit the Washington County Habitat for Humanity, a local nonprofit Christian housing ministry that builds simple, decent and affordable homes in Washington County for those in need.
According to Kayton, money raised from the event will be used to purchase supplies for a house being constructed in Abingdon. “Our goal is to raise $5,000 from this year’s race,” she said.
Last year’s event garnered $4,000, which helped to purchase landscaping and appliances for a Glade Spring house, which is expected to be completed next month.
“This is not just an event for runners. It’s a community event, too,” said Kayton.
“We’ll have great goody bags, awards and lots of fun activities. Performance T-shirts are guaranteed to the first 100 runners.”
There will be an activity section outside the race where kids can play free games.
“Be prepared to get muddy and have lots of fun,” said Kayton.
Participants are encouraged to wear athletic clothing that is lightweight and comfortable. Bringing a change of clothing is advised. The Abingdon Fire Department will be available to hose off participants after the races.
We Run Events, an events management company in Bristol, Tennessee, will oversee the race. Runners will wear racing bibs that track their performances during the race.
Participants should pick up a registration packet before the race begins, which will contain a T-shirt, free gifts, a bib race number and coupons.
Prerace registration pickup is 9 a.m. to noon on Aug. 22 and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 at the Habitat for Humanity office at 765 Cummings St. in Abingdon.
Race fees start at $55. Online registration at www.helphabitat.org ends at 9 p.m. on Aug. 21.
During the event, the kitchen at the 4-H Center will be open, providing lunches for purchase. Lunches can be preordered on the registration form found on the Habitat for Humanity website or on Facebook.
The next fundraising event for the Washington County Habitat for Humanity is an Italian-themed gala scheduled for Oct. 3 at The Barns at Chipp Ridge in Abingdon. The event will feature a meal, silent auction and band.
For more information about the Habitat Mud Run and other fundraising events, contact Washington County Habitat for Humanity at 276-258-5469.