Saxapahaw — Now in its third year, the Trooper Challenge Mud Run seems to have stumbled upon the perfect recipe for success.
Begin with a beautiful autumn day and add fire, ice, generous amounts of dirt and a pinch of precipitous hills; sprinkle in a few hay bales, barriers and barricades. Just add water and stir vigorously. (Or find a few hundred adventurous friends who will churn up the area with their running).
Staged this past Saturday on the rolling hills of the Jordan Properties Farm in Saxapahaw, the TCMR was created by the N.C. State Highway Patrol Troop D Troopers to promote wellness and positive interaction with residents.
Its nice for us to interact with the public in a different capacity than what people think of highway patrolmen, said Trooper Brian Leventhal, who coordinated the event alongside planning team member and fellow N.C. State Trooper David Darnell.
The day began with a Junior Trooper Challenge, a smaller-scale mud-run for ages 5-12.
The full 5K (3.1-mile) TCMR began immediately after, with groups starting in waves to reduce waits at obstacles. Saturdays event included a 50-foot slip-and-slide into a mud pit, large concrete pipes that could only be navigated on all fours, hay bales, climbing walls and even a dumpster filled with ice water.
We make changes every year; its evolved a little bit, Leventhal said. The Dumpsters are new. And its funny, but around (the area), people have started a rumor that one would be filled with nothing but ice water, so we went and actually brought in some ice at the last minute.
Cardinal Timing Services Dick Forbis said he wasnt sure if smoke emanating from the race course was an obstacle or merely an attempt at ridding the course of one-too-many obstacles.
Leventhal said his experiences organizing the event has made the planning that much easier, but he was also thankful that the elements continue to fall into place.
Weve really been fortunate to have the weather cooperate, he said. What also helps is this great community here in Saxapahaw: the farm next door, the General Store. Community support makes such a difference.
Overall event winners included a womens overall best of 27:35.72 turned in by Carrboros Hannah Mosby. Mosby was followed by Becca Wells (30:07.02) of Burlington and Suzanne Nelson of Mebane (30:14.62).
It was great. I had a great time, said Mosby, who ran with co-worker Rachel Mead, both of whom work in the Intensive Care Unit at UNC Health Care. I ran in college but this is whole different subculture.
Capturing the mens crown was Durhams Dane Dugan (26:37.18), followed by 15-year-old Samuel Moore (26:57.64) and Chapel Hills William Graden (29:13.73).
It was my second year, and I really enjoyed it; it was great, said Moore, a student at Rockingham County High School. They changed up a few things and added tunnels and mud, and that part was the most fun.
This is the third year weve (timed) it, Forbis said, and theyve put some different things in each year, which is great for participants. Its great because mud runs have just started in this area, and there are some incredibly big ones.
In the team competition, where squads were required to be coed, it was the Iron to Iron team of Jacob Knox, Christina North, Kade Ritsema and Wesley Bishop finishing in front of second-place finishers Sassy Sloths and the third-place team, Angies B-day Mudders.
But the fun of plodding through the mud wasnt lost on those outside the winners circle, like 6-year-old (not 5 6!) Ashleigh Post, who talked her grandmother into completing the junior course with her.
She wanted to do it, but she didnt want to do it by herself, Ashleighs grandmother, Margie Post, said.
My favorite part was coming down the slide, the younger Post said.
Leventhal was pleased with the turnout of around 300 adult and junior competitors, which helped to raise funds for UNCs Eve Carson Scholarship Fund, the N.C. National Guard Soldiers and Airmen Assistance Fund, and the N.C. Civil Air Patrol. Helping to sponsor the event was Montrail Shoes and Fleet Feet Sports in Carrboro.
Fleet Feet co-owner Tricia White joked that the event proved her store had equipment for every occasion.
Sure, we have shoes for trails, for mud, fire-walking, for an ice bath, she said, laughing.
Before returning to keep the states highways safe, Trooper Leventhals next order of business will be to have a debriefing about the event.
Well let it settle for a week and then look at what went right and what went wrong, he said. Then David Darnell and I will meet again after the first of the year and look at next one.
For almost everyone else on or anywhere near the race course on Saturday, the next order of business was simply a long shower.
NCHP Mud Run
Age Group Winners
Overall Female: Hannah Mosby (27:35.72)
Overall Male: Dane Dugan ( 26:37.18)
13-19 Female: Caroline Lowery (31:28.14)
13-19 Male: Frederick McJunkin (29:35.38)
20-29 Female: Christina North (33:39.25)
20-29 Male: Thomas Wage (29:47.59)
30-39 Female: Alexandra Marano (33:11.11)
30-39 Male: Bryan Roney (30:51.68)
40-49 Female: Ruth Cresenzo (32:28.17)
40-49 Male: Mitch Zimmerman (32:46.02)
50 & up Female: Beth Helpingstine (40:08.67)
50 & up Male: Bruce McJunkin (37:13.36)