Down and Dirty

‘Mudathlon’ offers crazy adventure
for willing participants

Event returns for a second year at
Gen. Butler State Park

CARROLLTON, Ky. – Mark Smith and his family are always looking for activities they can participate in together. When they saw the opportunity to participate in an adventure-type racing course close to home, they knew they had to sign up immediately.
After learning of a new adventure-type racing event coming to his area, “I had been looking for one, and it was great that the Mudathlon was right here in my own backyard,” said Smith of Carrollton. He’s referring to the inaugural Kentucky Mudathlon held last year at Gen. Butler State Resort Park. The event returns this year on May 11.

Mark Smith

Photos provided

Mark Smith (above) tackles
the Mudathlon course at last
year’s inaugural event,
then poses with his wife,
D’anne, and son, Matthew
afterward (below)

Smith Family

This event is made up of a three-mile, 40-obstacle course covering as much natural and muddy terrain as possible. Participants can register individually or as a team.
“My wife D’anne, son Matthew, and I competed together,” said Smith, 49. His daughter, Breanna, was a course volunteer. “There were a lot of teams and that looks like a great way to participate.”
The Mudathlon is “all about having fun,” said Mudathlon Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Anna Ryan. “All walks of life can participate; it’s for all ability levels.”
Even for someone who has never run a marathon, it’s a great chance to get together with family and friends, she said. Kentucky Mudathlon is a one time, one day event.
“There are five locations now,” said Ryan, where Mudathlon events are held:  Indianapolis Mudathlon (June 29), Northwest Indiana Mudathlon (July 20), Cincinnati Mudathlon (Aug. 10), and South Dakota Mudathlon (Aug. 24).
Participants can preregister for a cost of $85. Participants will start in waves of 100 at 7:45 a.m. and take off 15 minutes thereafter. They must be 14 years old and if under age 18, must have parent or guardian permission.
Participants will receive a T-shirt, a slap-on can koozie, car decal, a free beer and a free brat or burger of their choice. Mudathlon is “all about getting people out,” Ryan said.
Obstacles to conquer at Mudathlon include the Mud Slide, Cargo Net Climb, Heaping Hay Bales, 40-foot Tunnel of Terror, Cricketed Creek Crossing, Sludge Run, Slippery Slope and various other water obstacles. As to the obstacle course, “you can make it as hard or as easy as you want,” Ryan said. “Many participants especially enjoy the water slides and mud pits.”
Smith said his favorite part in last year’s Kentucky Mudathlon was “the teamwork involved in working through the course itself. All participants encouraged everyone along, lent helping hands, and it was amazing to see the fortitude of all ages competing and finishing the event.”
He participated for several reasons last year. “I used to run quite a few road races, but over the years lost interest in “pounding the pavement.” Smith heard about Mudathlon and thought it would be fun to give it a try.
Smith and his family are planning to participate again this year. He said they trained by walking and jogging through their neighborhood, and reviewing video clips on the Internet to prepare them for what the actual course would be like and how to dress. “I would definitely recommend that to a first-timer,” he said.
For Smith, the most challenging part in the 2012 Mudathlon was “the section of the race that took us down close to the Kentucky River.” Occurring midway through the race, “we were somewhat fatigued at that point from a lot of running on muddy trails and lifting and pulling yourself up mud banks.”
Tanya Supplee, Parks Program Services Supervisor at Gen. Butler, said that for the park, “this is a signature event. It stands alone and incorporates nature’s elements as only a park setting can provide.”
 “I think Gen. Butler is a great location for the event,” Smith said. “It’s got great terrain and all-around great features to host a course of this type. The park allows for a lot of variety in the obstacles presented.”
Kentucky Mudathlon benefits the park in many ways, said Supplee. It even “reaches into the concept of Adventure Tourism, which is the “hot” thing in the field of recreation.”
She said it is a positive way to bring new visitors to the park, Carrollton and Carroll County.
Smith agreed by saying the park was “centrally located from several populated areas, so it’s convenient to bringing in a large number of participants from surrounding states.”
The Top Mudder Award will be given to the top three overall male and female winners based on chip time.

• To register or find out more about Kentucky Mudathlon visit www.Mudathlon.com. Charity team participants can give $5 back to the charity of their choice. Members of the military are eligible for a $5 discount.

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