Most charity races don't include a massive mud pit, military-inspired obstacles, live music and appetizing food, but that's what runners and spectators can expect Sunday during the National Mud and Obstacles Series at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers this Sunday.
Runners have the chance to participate in the 5K and 10K and children are invited to participate in the 100-yard dash or 1-mile race, all including a huge mud pit to ensure that everyone can get in on the down and dirty action, and portion of the proceeds from the race will benefit "Operation Gratitude," which will send care packages to troops overseas, according to Special Projects Coordinator Scott Roegner.
While the main goal of a normal running race is surviving and getting through it, the mud run looks at fitness as a fun celebration with live music and fun messy obstacles for runners of all skill sets.
"We have all different levels and ages of people who participate," Roegner said. "We have people who, this is their very first 5K and people running who are in their 70s. It's family orientated and you don't have to run the entire time or do all of the obstacles if you don't want to. It's up to you."
Obstacles include a slippery slide, inflatable climbing wall, ladder walls, low crawl and tunnels, mud pit and water crossings.
The entire course description for both 5K and 10K is laid out on the event's website, downanddirtymudrun.com, by each mile.
For the 10K, mile one consists of heading down a dirt/gravel trail following the perimeter of the Georgia International Horse Park. On mile two, the trail emerges from the trees heading through the woods narrows up and down hills before going past the horse facilities and past the old cemetery of mile three. On mile four and five, runners go through the Olympic mountain biking course over rocky terrain.
The sixth and final mile of the 10K course brings runners toward the main event site, ending with a mud crawl.
After the race, runners can clean off in courtesy showers using Paul Mitchell products and join fellow racers and enjoy the "Burger Bash." The bash will give a burger or fruit salad, chips and a drink to all 5K and 10K runners. Children who participated in races can purchase discounted tickets on the race day.
The mud race, presented by Subaru and Merrell, asks that runners do not misplace their "Burger Bash" tickets which will be attached to the runners' race bibs.
Lost tickets will not be replaced and athletes will not be able to access the Burger Bash without a ticket. No exceptions will be made.
Last year, the Merrell Down and Dirty Race had a couple of thousand people come out to enjoy the event, said Roegner and this year, he expects around 3,000 runners and few thousand spectators.
Sound fun? Online registration will close tomorrow, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. Racers will also be able to register Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Merrell Store at The Forum on Peachtree Parkway in Norcross. For more information about parking, schedules, race information and registration, visit downandirtymudrun.com.