| By Karen Kater |
All my life I have been an adrenaline junkie. I love the thrill of a good adventure, so when I heard Hands On! was hosting its very first Mad Mountain Mud Run, I knew I would be there, even if it was then five months in advance. My training was minimal, but give me a break, I didn’t know what to expect! For anyone questioning their own fitness, it should be comforting that a fairly out of shape person like myself could still finish the race and really enjoy it.
I ran the race with my best friend and my sister. We spent much of the time walking, talking, and laughing at our inability to complete some of the obstacles that resembled playground activities designed for really big kids. I can’t wait for this year’s race in June – Mad Mountain Mud Run celebrates its sixth year and the obstacles get more creative each time!
The great thing about the Mad Mountain Mud Run is no pressure. You rarely find a 5k that isn’t focused on competition, on winning or beating a personal time and, although the Mud Run has that option for those with a more competitive spirit, ultimately it is about enjoying yourself. This year, racers can choose their own challenge. Categories include: running as a four-person team, as a timed individual or as an untimed individual, meaning that runners of all skill levels can participate. The Mud Run is centered on being silly, getting dirty, and having fun as you move over, under, through or between obstacles. Everyone is there to lift others up, either by cheering from the sidelines or physically heaving you over the obstacles, which I required at least once.
If you are thinking about registering (which I highly recommend), let me share some advice with you: 1. Don’t take yourself too seriously. When there are people running around in tutus and wigs, there’s no point in feeling frustrated or embarrassed if you can’t do something. 2. Don’t get discouraged. We all need help with the obstacles every now and then. For me, it was a wall that I had to haul myself over. I distinctly remember my sister pushing me from behind as my upper body strength failed me. 3. Monkey bars are no joke as an adult.
The most creative teams dress up in wildly-themed costumes, ones they obviously never plan to wear again and will be peeling off immediately after they cross the finish line. I had the misconception that even though ‘mud’ was in the title of the run, I might somehow be able to emerge from the race fairly clean; do not make my mistake! All of my clothes, despite my best efforts and hopefulness, ended up discarded. So, disclaimer: Although there are outdoor showers available, find some clothes you won’t mind trashing in mud and then create a prize-winning costume.
Unlike other races that might disperse pretty quickly the moment you cross the finish line, Mad Mountain Mud Run engages you in some very cool post-run entertainment. While laughing and comparing highlights with friends and family, you can celebrate your accomplishment with cold beer (or soda) and tasty treats offered by several local restaurants, food trucks, and breweries. Spectators are invited to come out to the festival all day for live music, delicious food, local vendors, and some hilarious views of the racers.
Not only is the Mud Run a fantastic addition to Hendersonville’s summer entertainment line-up, whether you are a spectator or a runner, but the cause that it benefits is one that is close to this community’s heart. I honestly could not tell you what business existed in the Main Street building before Hands On!, but perhaps that speaks to the magic of the museum. I have been going there with my nieces and nephew since they were toddlers. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the museum is dynamic with its constant addition of new activities, like ‘Mad Scientist Tuesdays’ and a partnership with Blue Ridge Humane Society that brings in adorable, adoptable puppies.
Everything in the museum has educational value for children of all ages that stimulates the imagination and motivates learning. Families can play with the oversized ‘Lite Brite,’ experiment with sound in the Music Room, or scoop cones in the miniature Kilwin’s Ice Cream parlor. I love going to Hands On! with my nieces and nephew; their excitement when you mention the name speaks to the love they feel as well.
I’m so excited to show my support once again as I run in this year’s Mad Mountain Mud Run on June 3, at Berkely Park in Hendersonville. C’mon! Join me! Get the facts and register at www.madmountainmudrun.com.