Slippin' and slidin' a big part of Mississippi Mud Mania

A competitor is given a hand as she emerges from the water after plowing through an obstacle during the Mississippi Mud Mania competition Saturday at the Driftwood Campground in Quincy. (H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)
Posted: Jun. 8, 2013 5:33 pm Updated: Jun. 22, 2013 6:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

While most people spent their morning nestled in bed or lingering over a cup of coffee, others decided it would be best to spend it playing in the mud.

The YMCA of Quincy launched its Mississippi Mud Mania on Saturday morning. Volunteers and contractors had transformed the 30-acre Driftwood Campground property into a 5K run with a dirty twist. Participants also had to run, hurdle, crawl and waddle through mud.

Kyle Haeberlin, sports and special events director for the Y, believes the event evoked a sense of nostalgia while building new friendships in the community.

"I enjoyed getting all the friends, family, co-workers out here to relive their childhood of playing in the mud," Haeberlin said.

Contestants 12 years and older had to complete all 25 military-style obstacles or do pushups for each challenge they didn't attempt.

Brooklyn McCulloch's favorite part was the mudslide, where she found herself surprised with a 6-feet deep pit of murky water.

"I through it wasn't going to be that bad until I was completely underwater and it went up my nose. It was awful but fun," McCulloch said.

Jason Deters completed the course with the fastest time of 30 minutes, though no prizes were given out through the event.

Michelle Terwelp, marketing director for the Y, believes the enjoyment of running through the mud with friends and family is the best prize to have.

"It's more about how people did the event -- and be proud of themselves that they completed the mud run," Terwelp said.

Mud runs are becoming a popular trend across the United States, Terwelp said.

With the closest one being in Springfield, Ill., Mud Mania was created to replace the Tri-Jesus Triathlon with the intent to create a new local tradition.

Although the organization didn't reach their goal of 500 participants Saturday, 412 people from all over Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Alabama congregated for the event, surpassing the average 100 participants for the triathlon.

Terwelp predicts 1,400 people will come next year.

"We are hoping that other people from other states will go out and tell their friends and co-workers and get them to join in on the fun," Terwelp said.

David Henkenmier and his team, Hangin' Tough, have participated in 10 mud runs across the U.S.

He was impressed with the Y's work.

"Having something that's local was fantastic. My wife, kids and family get to be involved, so it's a good family event," Henkenmier said.

Many participants crossed the finish line believing they worked out mentally more than physically. Henkenmier noted how many participants pushed themselves to swing across slippery monkey bars above foamy mud pits instead of doing pushups.

McCulloch said the key was listening to the cheers from spectators and volunteers.

"They motivate you and make you to keep going when you wanna give up," McCulloch said.

It took Haeberlin and the team of contractors and volunteers two months to set up the course.

One obstacle had to be redesigned. The organization chopped the 10-foot Leap of Faith down to a shorter height because of safety issues.

Haeberlin said he enjoyed how participants still would cannonball into the pool of murky water.

"We wanted to make sure the obstacles were sturdy enough for everyone to go over and have fun," Haeberlin said.