Energy is infectious. I know that this is 100% true, because on April 5, 2014, the energy around me is the only thing that made it possible for me to finish the Daniel Barden Mudfest with a smile on my face and my fist in the air. I had just spent a ridiculous amount of time, freezing wet, shaking cold, going up, over, under, through and around the toughest obstacles I’ve experienced, on top of running 5k through a challenging and hilly farm.
Plus, it was snowing. In April.
And you know what? It was amazing. I felt more on top of the world after crossing that finish line than I’ve ever felt before. I had myself a Saranac, enjoyed the band then went home for the best shower and nap of my life.
I found the Mudfest in 2013 when New York Sash reached out to Dan Williams, race organizer, to throw them our support. If you want to talk about infectious energy, then you’ve got to talk about Dan. Dan is an adventurist, farmer, fence-builder and charity giver. An all around great guy, whose niece went to Sandy Hook Elementary and was best friends with Daniel Barden – a first grader who lost his life in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Dan was moved from the tragic event to give back and do something in his honor. He started the Daniel Barden Mudfest in 2013. Continuously every year the race gets bigger and better and 100% of the proceeds are given back to various charities. And the race itself is organized and run entirely of volunteers, a feat of and in itself.
I repeated the Mudfest again in 2015 – I was more in shape, it was a beautiful sunny day, I had a bigger team with me and it was STILL the 2nd most difficult thing yet 2nd most rewarding experience I’ve had (nothing will beat that 2014 run).
This year’s Daniel Barden Mudfest is Saturday, April 30th. I am less ready but more excited than ever before. My team has grown to include more New York Sash runners, Made In Utica members and my friends at Saranac, too. Plus the after party is bigger and better with bands, beer and food.
I’m challenging you all to sign up and do it. There’s no excuses – I’ve done it out of shape. I’ve done it in the snow. If I can do it, you can do it.
THE NEED-TO-KNOW INFO:
- Why do it? It’s a charity. It’s a challenge. Get outside, get physical, and finish with a party!
- Do I need to be able to run a 5k? Not really. It’s not a regular road race. It’s loaded with obstacles, and there’s plenty of people (including me) walking in between.
- What if I can’t do an obstacle / I run slow / I get tired? This isn’t about your time. Actually, it’s UN-timed. And it’s definitely not about finishing first. It’s just about doing it! You can skip an obstacle and no one will look at you funny. More likely, the people around you will offer you a hand to help you complete it. Take your time, the victory is simply in crossing the finish line.
- What would I wear? Funny outfits, unique items make you stand out from the mud. OLD sneakers, OLD clothes. Definitely dri-fit! And take it from experience – duct tape your sneakers to your feet. The LAST thing you want is to lose a sneaker in the mud pit.
- What else would I bring? Bring plenty of garbage bags, towels, change of clothes and shoes. And bring some friends and fans to cheer you on at the finish line and party afterwards with.
- What if I want MORE of a challenge? You can sign up for a timed 5 mile elite run with more difficult obstacles.
- Are kids allowed? Yup – there’s a couple fleets of kids runs.
- Ok I’m in. How do I register? Head over to https://www.bardenmudfest.org/! You can register up through race day, but don’t wait. Just Do It.
I hope to see you there!