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It's sink or swim in the Yuba City Mud Run
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Mud, mud and more mud. An estimated 600 people sank up to their shins and splashed through murky pools as they tackled the 2nd annual Yuba City Mud Run on Saturday.
Friends and family members flanked the muddiest stretches of course, cheering their filthy loved ones on as they struggled over straw bales, trotted through tires and crawled through tubes.
Runners had several grubby course options through Beckworth Riverfront Park, including a 2-mile race, 4-mile race, children's event and team challenge. Many slid feet-first into the slick, slippery pools or face-planted into puddles as they lost their balance.
"I thought I could go fast and drag myself through the mud by crawling," said Levi Siller, 9. "Someone kept telling me to dive, and I tried but kept my nose and eyes up."
The event combines two of they Yuba City resident's favorite loves - mud and running - and he said he'll definitely be back next year.
The race made for a Mother's Day weekend Veronica Ellis will never forget. After the Marysville resident ran the 2-mile lap early in the morning, she wallowed through the muck again during the kids' race with her daughter, 4-year-old Alaina Smalling, on her back.
"It was so refreshing and fun. We just plowed through," she said. "It's a great family bonding day. The best part was doing it with her."
At the final mud pit, runners military-crawled under nylon cables, their heads barely skimming the surface. They emerged from the pool sputtering and splashing and charged for the finish line.
Organizer Greg Howard of Elite Fitness was pleased with Saturday's turnout and said the run was moved from Tudor to the Marysville park this year for a more central location. Event proceeds support the Next Level Foundation, an organization that aims to help children with fitness and nutrition.
Joey Villaseñor had just finished the three-person race when he convinced his friend, Kylie Taylor, to join him for the couples challenge. They shot off at a sprint and during certain stretches, he tossed her upside down over his back with her legs wrapped around his shoulders.
"She was saying, 'Hurry up, Joey, they are catching you,'" he said. "It was like she was riding me like a horse."
Of about a dozen duos, they were the first to cross the finish line and collapsed, exhausted but $200 richer and shooting one another proud grins.
"She's in better shape than I thought," Villaseñor said.
CONTACT Ashley Gebb at email@example.com or 749-4783. Find her on Facebook at /ADagebb or on Twitter at @ADagebb.