By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — Approximately 300 people turned out Saturday, June 19, for the Mudtastic Classic presented by the K21 Health Foundation . The event, held at the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation’s Levinson LaBrosse Lakes & Wetland Education Center attracted participants from around the region.
One participant was from a suburb of Chicago while Provida Fitness, a gym based in Elkhart, brought two teams of members to participate. Those participating ranged in age from 7 to over 60.
The Mudtastic is a fundraiser which provides some funding for the Syracuse Park and Recreation Department’s many programs and facilities. This year registration fees were $25 for adults and $15 for youth. The money raised goes back into the department’s coffers in a general fund.
The course featured about 20 different obstacles over a 2.5 mile course. “This is crazy!,” said Alyssa Nahnsen after coming down a slide and into a large pool of muddy water. She and her friends did the event last year and said this year’s course was better.
The course features climbs, slides and trenches of water and mud on the trails near Lake Wawasee. It took the parks and rec. department approximately 2 weeks to build the course. Fire Chief Mickey Scott noted one obstacle took 7,000 gallons of water to fill.
Darin Lursen, program director, said tearing down the course takes much less time. He estimated the course will be completely gone by Wednesday, June 23.
Russell Loco, from the Chicago area, was offering muddy hugs to anyone as he moved from one obstacle to the next. Saying he was talked into participating in the event, he said “I’m having a great time.”
Relentless Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from Warsaw brought a team of about 35 members to participate.
The weather proved to be perfect for the event with the high humidity experienced Friday gone. An overnight rain also helped make the mud obstacles pretty soupy, meaning everyone finished covered from head to toe in mud.
Participants could be overheard commenting about having “a little grit in your socks, rocks in your shoes… and socks.” Another after wading through Lake Wawasee as part of the course, said, “I don’t think I can run, my shoes weigh 20 pounds,” after pulling herself out of the water to head to the next muddy obstacle.
Members of the Turkey Creek Fire Territory were on hand with tanker trucks and hoses to spray everyone down after their run.
Runners came decked in costumes or custom made T-shirts highlighting their team, only to return to the finish line with them unreadable since they were covered in black mud. The majority of the participants received a T-shirt and a medal for completing the course.