More than 250 people of all ages jumped in large vats of cold water, climbed rocky hills and slid down water slides Saturday morning during the second annual Marietta Mud Run at the Washington County Career Center.
"It's a beautiful day to run in the mud," Suzy Zumwalde, executive director of the Marietta Family YMCA, told the adult runners before the race began.
The number of participants was about the same as last year, Zumwalde said, which she attributed to the rain and cooler morning temperatures on Saturday.
JOLENE CRAIG Special to the Times
A participant jumps the first hurdle as others reach it Saturday morning during the second annual Marietta Mud Run at the Washington County Career Center on Ohio 676.
"We were not expecting rain this morning and I don't think a lot of our runners were, either," she said. "I wouldn't be surprised if a number of people decided not to come when they saw the forecast this morning."
Despite the chilly rain that began to fall just before the 9 a.m. start, more than 200 adults braved not only Mother Nature but also the obstacle course that included jumping into water many called "freezing."
As participants ran after balancing on a beam to cross a stream, several commented that they were numb from the rain, temperatures in the low 50s and the previous obstacle of jumping into a tub of cold water before climbing down a wood ladder and continuing the race.
"All 18 of our obstacles are meant to get the runners wet or muddy," Zumwalde said.
This year's obstacle course was similar to that for last year's Mud Run, which was also at the school's campus and utilized the walking trail and other outdoor spaces behind the buildings, and included some new additions, said Matt Kress, program director for the YMCA.
"This year's course was a redesign of last year's," Kress said. "But, we added more natural obstacles on the property."
These natural impediments include rocky terrain under a small waterfall as well as a hill climb.
"We wanted to use what the land here offers and I hope it is fun for the runners," Kress added. "People who walked the course before the race said it looked challenging and couldn't wait to run it."
Within the first 20 minutes of the race, Kress said people had commented to him they were having a good time while most laughed and smiled with their friends and teammates.
"Everybody seems to be having fun, but we will see what they feel like at the end of the race," Kress joked.
Although many similar obstacle course races around the country are serious, Zumwalde said this race is more fun than anything.
"We have people who are in this to win and others who just want to have a good time," she said. "With a costume contest, we can't really be all that serious and want everyone to have fun."
The course was opened for children between the ages of 6-13 at 11 a.m. Saturday for the Mini Marietta Mud Run, which featured a modified shorter obstacle course.