Rainy weather combined with farmland terrain, made for perfect muddy conditions at the 3rd annual Muskoka Mud Run. Clearer skies did arrive, but on the trails where students ran, mud splashed up in the air. Mud sprayed onto their clothes. Shoes got soaked in mud. There was mud everywhere – even in the areas where schools set up canopies or tents, to shelter student’s backpacks. Though, this is what it’s all about – having fun in the mud while raising money for charity!
Some students strived to stay as clean as possible. Others, treated it like a game seeing who could get the most muddy! Last year’s event attracted over 800 elementary school students. This year, around 1,200 students – some, from as far away as Timmins – arrived at Morrison’s Meadows in Bracebridge, on Friday, October 18th, to participate in the Muskoka Mud Run.
The races are divided into different groups – such as grades 3/4 boys and girls… grades 5/6 boys and girls… and grades 7/8 boys and girls. In each race, there are a large number of students competing at once. To get accurate timing for everyone, a system called “chip timing” is used. Chip timing provides precise timing as to when students pass the finish line – who came in 1st, 2nd, 52nd or 53rd.
The Muskoka Mud Run is hosted by Active in Muskoka, an organization founded by Andy Zeltkalns and Ellen Yeo, both teachers at Monck Public School. The goal of their organization is to raise funds for charity while promoting an active lifestyle. The mud run is one example of that. Another example, is their snowshoe race in winter. To date, Active in Muskoka, has donated $5,000 to the charity, Community Living South Muskoka.
At this year’s mud run, which will raise more money for charity, one student shared how he liked that there was more things to do than just run. There was cookie decorating, face painting, a live D.J. playing music, and even a maze where students searched for, and found different rubber ink stamps. With tons of activities going on, Ellen Yeo, best described the mud run with these words: “It’s a festival of a day.”