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“This was flipping awesome!’: Big Muddy Challenge gets under way at Patterson Farm

Joseph Polk was the starting line Master of Ceremonies for Saturday’s Big Muddy Challenge at Patterson Farm on Caldwell Road. Polk’s job was to rev up each wave of willing participants, hiding a good warmup inside his dance and motivational routine. Polk asked each wave, “Are you ready to have fun?” Their enthusiastic response preceded the starting horn and soon they ran or walked onto the farm to experience multiple mud obstacles.

Polk has been working with the Big Muddy Challenge for two years. He said, “This is a family event for sure. Often the parents are surprised what the kids can do and almost always the kids are amazed at the effort of their parents as they hit the serious mud. I love being a part of this.”

The starting area was the source of some great comments as each wave prepared for their own test. One man vigorously danced near the back of his wave’s pack before throwing up his hands and laughing, “Well, I’m done.” Another muttered, “This is about to get serious! Let’s go conquer the mud.” One more said, “I hope there is no barbed wire.”

Natalie and Jim Griffin brought family and friends from Waxhaw to run the BMC. Natalie, a regular runner, said, “We wanted to do this to build self-esteem in our group. Our age range was 13-50 and it was the first mud run for all of us. We were definitely out of our comfort zone in the mud. My favorite part was the running and climbing the straight wall.”

Jim was apprehensive before the run, but just like all the other participants, he crossed the finish line with a smile and wearing lots of mud. Natalie said, “He hates to run, but he did this just for us.” The Griffin group all brought trash bags and old sheets to keep the car clean, and they all enjoyed hosing off the mud with water from a big tanker truck.

Others used the Big Muddy Challenge for a motivator, either for exercise or to spend quality time together. Emily and Jim Sonda of Charlotte also came to their first mud run. Emily said, “It was awesome. We tried to get dirty! We usually ride bikes and go to the Whitewater Center, so this was another great exercise for us.”

Also in their first mud run, Alex and Gustavo Moreno wanted to do something together. Alex said, “We can’t wait to do it again! Exercise and memories! The obstacles were harder than we thought even though we had been training for ten weeks.”

While a large percentage of Big Muddy Challenge participants drove in from other areas, local siblings Jimmy Green and Elizabeth Clarke brought eight family members and friends out to the farm. Elizabeth, a teacher and coach at West Rowan High School, said, “We needed the team builder. It was just for fun, but the exercise made it better.” Jimmy, an insurance salesman, said, “Elizabeth and I are both coaches, so that came out today. My only skill is being tall!” Megan Moore added, “Yes and he loves helping the ladies get over the obstacles. We will all be back next year wearing Tu-tus.” The rest of the group included Moore’s son, Maddux, Leann Dwiggins, Andrew Luepke, and Emma and Mason Clarke.

With over 1,300 participants for the first Big Muddy Challenge at Patterson Farm, Michelle and Doug Patterson were extremely pleased with the event. Michelle Patterson said, “We were really excited about hosting the Big Muddy Challenge at Patterson Farm. The BMC and our farm share the same goal of creating memories. We look forward to entertaining many families this fall with other events including the Color Run and Corn Maze. Our farm offers such a unique venue to visit and we want everyone to come back soon.” More info on upcoming events can be found at www.visitpattersonfarm.com

Participants enjoyed the beautiful weather and time spent on a working farm. Smiles were the order of the day during this non-timed and adventurous event. The only competition was what developed within small groups and or on the course. From the starting horn to the finish line, the pace was as slow or as fast as anyone wanted it to be. More than a few competitors enjoyed resting while immersed in mud. It was OK to slip back into mud when almost ready to climb out of a pit. Volunteers made sure everyone stayed safe and provided plenty of encouragement. The last wave of the day allowed the volunteers to experience the course themselves.

Just as Joseph Polk said at the starting line, “This is all about having fun!” It certainly was and maybe Mason Clarke said it best just after he crossed the finish line: “This was flipping awesome!”

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