There are no shortages of marathons, half-marathons and fun runs on the Kenai Peninsula in summer, but an event this weekend is undeniably distinct from any of these other exercise endeavors.
"It's going to be pretty squishy," said Kamichia Spisak, coordinator for the 2nd annual "Mud Run Challenge," hosted by Elite Health and Fitness in Nikiski.
The mud run has a 5-kilometer course that goes from the gym to the Niksiki Fire Department, but it's unlike any other foot race around due to various obstacles.
"There are hurdles, tire runs, a military crawl, a plank walk, a tunnel, and of course mud along the way and there's a big mud pit at the end," she said.
Spisak said this final obstacle is 10-by-20 feet this year to ensure no racers come through too clean.
"Some people were able to prance through last year without getting too muddy, so I had to change that," she said.
While mud in some other naturally occurring areas may contain rocks, sticks or even broken glass, Spisak said the mud for the mud run is of the highest quality.
"We purchase it and make it. We do it by bringing in screened dirt and then the Nikiski Fire Department volunteers spray it down and make it into mud for us," she said.
Due to the nature of the mud run, Spisak said there are a few special considerations runners should be aware of in addition to typical things, such as being properly hydrated prior to the event.
"People should also bring a change of clothes, and bring a trash bag to put everything in at the end, so they don't trash their cars. There will be a rinse off area and competitors can shower and change in the gym, but they should still wear grungy clothes and old sneakers," she said.
Jewelry and other sentimental items should also be left at home, since they could be sucked into the mud pit, according to Spisak.
"Don't wear anything that could come off and be lost," she said.
There will be several prize categories during the mud run. Like any race, awards will be given for the top three fastest times for men, women and juniors, but there will also be awards for the dirtiest finisher, the cleanest finisher, the competitor with the best costume (since they are encouraged), the competitor with the most fans, the competitors with the best entrance into the mud pit, and best performance while in the mud pit.
Spisak said, by design, the mud run should provide entertainment for everyone whether young or old, or fit or not.
"I wanted to put on a run, but something different, something unique, that would provide some fun for everyone in the community," she said.
Registration for the mud run begins at Elite Health and Fitness at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, with a group stretch and warm-up at 11:30 a.m. The race begins at noon. The entry fee is $20 and includes a T-shirt, food and Bing energy drinks after the run. There will also be live music from the band Danger Pig. For more information, call 907-283-2270.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at email@example.com.
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