Runners splash through mud and muck – for a good cause
Nine hundred and fifty people decided running a 5K through mud pits, sand traps and water crossings was a good way to spend their time on Saturday morning.
In teams named Muddy Ruckers, The Dirty Flirtys, and Tenacious D and The Run of Destiny — to name a few — runners ages 7 to 75 donned costumes and ended up caked in mud at the Sacramento River Mud Blast.
The fun run is an annual benefit for River Partners and its efforts to create wildlife habitat. They will hold a similar event in Modesto on Oct. 19.
Andi Armstrong was compelled to join in "because it's a challenge and it's fun."
"It's something different. You can run the regular 5K and pound the pavement, but this is a total change it's stepping out of the box," Armstrong said.
She ran alongside her 14-year-old son, Asa Armstrong, "until he left me in the dust," she said.
"One of the hardest parts was trying to get out of some of the mud pits because they were so slippery," Andi Armstrong said.
Steelhead Lodge was a sponsor of the event and also had a team.
The co-ed group of five called themselves Dirty Pirate Hookers, "like anglers," said Tessa Reynolds.
The team dressed up as pirates, wearing bandanas and red sashes, but by the end they were caked with mud.
She said the run and obstacle course was great for team-building with people she works with.
"We had a great time. We hope they do it again out here," Reynolds said.
The organizers said they will have it again next year, hopefully with 1300 participants, and will start sign-ups for volunteers and runners in April.
The race was held on a 150-acre site called Willow Bend, which was acquired by River Partners in 2011.
According to the organization materials, the beach is big enough to host 1,200 people without harming the woodland area. The fields will eventually be replanted with trees and shrubs.
River Partners mission works on waterways in California, spanning more than 11 watersheds, including Sacramento, San Joaquin, Feather, Tuolumne, Merced, Stanislaus, Mokelumne, Bear, Otay, Kern and Lower Colorado.
The group plants trees and shrubs, have worked to put 8,000 acres into restoration and have invested $78 million in restoration and conservation activities. They also help with flood control, according to a spokesperson.