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Del Mar 5K: Here’s Mud in Your Eye—and Everywhere Else for a Cause

Fifth annual Mud Run at Del Mar Fairgrounds was fundraiser for Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Runners were warned.

“Mud likes to steal your shoes via suction so please ensure that you have boots or a style of shoe that covers the ankle,” said the Del Mar Mud Run website. “Some participants will use duct tape over their running shoes to keep them on their feet.”

Runners were alerted.

“The Del Mar Mud Run is not responsible for any items lost on the course during the race, so please do not wear any valuable items, like jewelry,” the site added.

But runners were undeterred.

An expected 8,000 entrants tackled a 3.1-mile course Saturday with 16 obstacles at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, organizers said in advance of an event that raised money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Operation Rebound.

In its third year at the home of the Del Mar races, mudders were the rage as one of the best-known dirt-and-water runs in the world went off in 80-degree weather with significant humidity.

Individuals paid between $50 and $80 depending on date of registration, or $185 to $305 for four-person teams. Teams with 10 or more qualified for a 10 percent cash rebate on race day.

Mud run may be a misnomer, however.

Entrants shimmied up large tube, crossed a single-rope bridge, swung over a mud pit and did hand-over hand monkey bars—as well as sliding down hills into mud lakes.

After six hourly waves, beginning at 8 a.m., the 5K runners returned to the world of the clean. Volunteers from above used hoses to free the worst debris, and runners could enter an enclosure with showers and soap.

Then many adjourned to a beer garden.

Marines at the obstacles yelled encouragement, as recorded music played. Vendor booths sold food and other items—including shoes.

A mountain of muddy shoes were donated to charity.

Operation Rebound is touted as the premier sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans and first responders with permanent physical disabilities.

“It provides unparalleled opportunities to pursue active, athletic lifestyles by offering access to funding for equipment and training and competition expenses, Military Medical Center Physical Training and sports clinics,” says its website.

Military veterans with prosthetic legs took part in Saturday’s race, though some needed help with certain obstacles, such as a stretch of tires to thread past.

The San Diego-based VAVi Sport & Social Club, founded in 2002, put on the event, and Keith Cunnigham, its marketing director, told U-T TV this week that the course was made easier in the wake of gripes.

“This year we’re actually making the mud softer. We’re bringing in the good stuff from overseas,” he said without elaboration.

Deanne Goodman October 08, 2012 at 03:14 PM
I've ran in this for the past two years and got to say it's one of the fun (and muddiest) ways to workout and have fun with friends on a weekend.
Ken Stone October 08, 2012 at 03:31 PM
I'll be checking under your fingernails for proof of run, but good for you!
Steven Bartholow October 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Did you guys rig up some mud proofing for your cameras? Nice shots.
Deanne Goodman October 08, 2012 at 04:23 PM
After 5 showers I swear I'm still finding mud on me. Ken - you should run it next year!

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