More than 300 get down and dirty in adventure run
By Emily Ford
LANDIS — Organizers of the first Down and Dirty Adventure Run in Landis didn’t want to classify the event as an official mud run, just in case they didn’t have enough of the gooey stuff to satisfy competitors.
Mother Nature took care of that.
After several days of heavy rain, Saturday’s event through the Lake Corriher Wilderness Area turned into a slippery, wet, mudfest where competitors had to help each other over obstacles, up walls and through trenches just to finish the race.
“It was the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Jennifer Walters of Davidson, who competed as a team with her family.
More than 300 people slid and stomped their way through the 4-mile course, and some 40 children belly crawled through a gigantic mud hole as part of the half-mile fun run.
Put on by the town of Landis and South Rowan YMCA to launch the new wilderness area, the Down and Dirty was one of the best events Danny White said he’s ever seen.
“This is in the top 10 of all races we’ve done, and one of the best of all mud runs,” said White of RMS Sports, which ran the timing and scoring for the event.
“The course is extremely challenging,” he said. “It’s hard as hell.”
Obstacles like a vertical rock climb that required competitors to go “hand over foot” made the Down and Dirty something special, White said.
“People are not used to seeing that in mud runs,” he said. “This is an event you can sink your teeth into.”
The Walters family — parents Jennifer and Ron and kids Luke, 10 and Lilly, 7 — competed as the Venomous Vipers and enjoyed some family bonding without distractions. It’s hard to talk on a cell phone or play video games while training for a mud run, Jennifer pointed out.
“It was really fun to dive into that river of mud that we went through,” Luke said.
Together, the family made decisions about the best way to scale a wall or cross a creek.
“I tried to get my whole body muddy,” Lilly said.
From the looks of the Walters as they emerged from the wilderness area and jumped head-first down a huge slide flooded with water and dish detergent, Lilly succeeded.
“Mud was not our main objective, but with all the rain, it made it that more challenging,” said Crystal Karriker, an extreme athlete and South Rowan YMCA volunteer who helped plan the event. “The weather was on our side.”
Rebecca Corriher of China Grove said she will return next year.
“It was a big adventure, for sure,” Corriher said.
With downed trees to cross, slick walls to climb and knee-high mud to wade through, the Down and Dirty was one of the hardest races he’s ran, John Pitel of Salisbury said.
“It was tougher than a half-marathon,” he said. “There were some awesome hills.”
The 99-acre park with two lakes was the star of the show. Landis Parks and Recreation will put proceeds from the event back into the park, where people can run, walk, fish, camp and soon kayak and canoe.
Aaron Crowe with the YMCA and Andrew Morgan and Reed Linn with the town of Landis helped organize the event. Firefighters and Junior ROTC students provided support, as well as dozens of other volunteers.
“We were really happy,” Karriker said. “So many people said they would be back next year.”
In fact, so many people said they want to compete next year, “we will have a hard time finding volunteers because everyone will be doing it,” she joked.
Organizers decided to try a mud run because the area has become saturated with triathlons, and they wanted an event more about having fun than beating the clock.
“And it brings people to the park,” Karriker said. “We have a diamond in the rough here. You can drive 10 minutes from home and camp, hike, fish and mountain bike and feel like you’ve really gone somewhere.”
Although the Walters family was the first four-person team to cross the finish line, the Venomous Vipers decided to disqualify themselves when they learned they’d accidentally skipped a portion of the course through a swampy area.
The family agreed it wasn’t honorable to claim victory if they hadn’t completed the entire course.
And that’s a good lesson for everyone, muddy or not.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.
Female overall, Carly Swanson, Concord, 45:26
Male overall, Philip Davis, Matthews, 39:09
Two-person female, Dirty Gingers: Amber Stokes, Savannah Stokes, 58:59
Two-person male, Team Sherrill: Josiah Sherrill, Caleb Sherrill, 44:59
Two-person co-ed, The Chamleys: Cornelia Chamley, Mark Chamley, 57:41
Four-person female, Carson Big Cats: Talley Medina, Katie Nichols, Miranda Wyatt, 1:04:24
Four-person male, Got Mud?: Craig Stewart, Jon Sherrill, Jason Hooks, Joe Hubbard, 52:23
Four-person co-ed, Neat Freaks: Mary Feeley, Kate Feeley-Lynch, Ryan Harth, Travis Nicholson, 55:51
To see all results, go to www.rmssports.com/results/11DDMUDRUN.txt