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Down and Dirty

Area competitors gear up
for third annual Mud Run

Proceeds to benefit Lide White Boys & Girls Club
in Madison

(May 2016) – Jordan Vinup of Milton, Ky., could be called a 5K veteran, but she found the Mad-town 5K Mud Run to be a unique challenge. May 21 will mark the third annual Mud Run, organized by the Lide White Memorial Boys & Girls Club in Madison, Ind. It is a grueling obstacle course that attracts teams and individuals to push themselves to the limits.
“I have been physically active since high school,” said Vinup, 25. “I am a really active person. After high school I always went to the gym. I have not done a marathon and consider a 5K run is pretty much my limit.”

Photo provided

Mud Run competitor Jordan Vineup (right) of Milton, Ky., emerges from the tubes during last year’s event.

As a King’s Daughters’ Home Health and Hospice nurse, Vinup stays active as a way to help with stress. She found the Mud Run to be much more challenging than a normal 5K.
“It was hard,” Vinup recalled. “The hill being so steep was a real challenge, and having all those obstacles at the top of the hill is really hard.”
Vinup has done other mud runs in Louisville and Chicago, and wherever else she can find them.
“This one was harder for me because after running three miles, there are the obstacles at the end,” she said. “I definitely like to run and lift weights, and this is the best of both. It is a good way to get in your cardio and have fun.”
Vinup doesn’t remember her finishing time but does know that she and a friend were in the top 15 or 20 female runners. She also remembers how eager the volunteers are when runners need help with an obstacle.

Photo provided

Competitors of all ages take off at the start of last year’s Mud Climb in downtown Madison, Ind.

“Everybody is super helpful,” she said. “There was always someone pushing you up to help you over the barriers. It is nice, especially when you are so tired. I thought that was pretty cool.”
She found the hardest part to be the box jump. It is similar to the exercises you see in an aerobics class when people step up and down off boxes. But in the Mud Run, she remembers the boxes being nearly two feet tall.
“It was the hardest part of the trail,” she said.
She also remembers the black box at the end of the course. People craw through a totally darkened box filled with icky stuff meant to feel like worms or bugs.
“The noodles and stuff were kind of gross, but interesting,” she said, laughing. “It was definitely a new obstacle for me.”
The diabolical obstacles on this Mud Run are like a twisted boot camp that could only be thought up by someone very comfortable pushing people to their limits – someone like a wrestling coach. That is where Lide White Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Ray Black comes into the picture. He is the third generation of wrestlers in his family. He wrestled at Madison Consolidated High School and then four years at Hanover College.
His list of accomplishments is long and includes NCAA championships.
“We had 57 participants the first year, 105 last year, and we are hoping for more than 200 this year,” Black said. “We are working hard to grow it.”
The event started as a way to target people in 20-40 age groups.
“It was originally designed to bring that age group to Madison to see how beautiful our town is, and to bring a little money to our programs,” he continued. “So far, everyone has finished the course. The oldest person to complete the event was 74 years old, and the youngest was only 4 years old.”
Black has a group of dedicated volunteers who help make the event work.
“Our volunteers are awesome,” said Black. “They are very big about trying to help everyone to finish.
They help pull people out of the mud or across the monkey bars.”
The 5K starts at downtown the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. That was the original location for the Boys & Girls Club before it moved onto the hilltop several years ago. From there, the competitors run west on Vaughn Drive along the Ohio River to the start of the Heritage Trail, and up the trail to the hilltop. The course ends at the Boys & Girls Club on the hilltop. There are more than 20 obstacles in between the start and finish.
“We send runners off in groups of 25,” said Black. “We call them waves. Every 15 minutes is the start of a new wave.”
The first obstacle is at the start of the Heritage Trail, where there are 100 tires to be run like a football players’ drill. Then there are hurdles by the sewage plant. Once they reach the Crooked Creek Trail Head two blocks north of Main Street, they go up and over the arch bridge, where they pick up a car tire and carry it through the creek before starting up the hill.
“That hill is a 16.5-degree incline,” said Black. “Along their way up the hill, they jump up and down 10 sets of boxes. Then, before they reach the quarry, they do tractor tire flips. After that, they pick up a 4x4x8-foot fence post and carry it a quarter mile.”
Black takes it easy on the females here. Their fence post is only six feet long.
Just before the edge of the Madison State Hospital property they scale an eight-foot wall, walk a 24-foot balance beam, crawl under bobbed wire in the mud and finally through a 15-foot culvert tube. There are also 16-foot monkey bars and a final mud pit as they try and finish the hill.
“Near the end there is a pull-up station, and two 14-foot gates to climb,” said Black. “Just before the end is the dreaded black box. It is totally dark with little surprises that may feel like worms or crickets.
If you make it through alive, you jump over a flaming fire pit and then into ice water. After that, the finish line is a piece of cake.”
Everyone who finishes gets a medal, and there is a beverage station at the end of the course. Adults can choose an alcoholic beverage if they wish.
“The fastest finishing time is around 26-27 minutes,” said Black. “Most everyone does it in about an hour. It is hard, but the preparation work I do the week of the race is a lot harder than the race. If someone offered to do all that stuff, I would gladly trade them.”
There is a traveling team trophy for the most participants on a team. For the first two years, Madison Chemical has won that trophy, but organizers hope someone will challenge them this year. There has also been a suggestion to add a second traveling team trophy for the top 10 finishing times on a team.
The Mud Run is an excellent race for the beginner mud runner as well as the experienced. This race will benefit the club by raising funds and donations for its education, athletic and development programs. 
Black has a simple answer for why they have designed such a difficult course.
“We want to challenge kids to be great and do something they didn’t think they could do,” he says with pride. “That is our Boys Club-Girls Club goal.”

• For more information, visit: www.MadTownMudRun.com.

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