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Athletes get a little dirty in second year of run

8/27/2012

By ABBY BELDEN

abelden@dailynews.net

There were a lot of victory shouts after runners crossed the finish line at the 2012 Big Creek Mud Run -- once they caught their breath, that is.

The second annual Big Creek Mud Run, which was organized by Fort Hays State University and Hays Medical Center's Center for Health Improvement, featured more than 20 obstacles spread throughout the 2-mile course located near Gross Memorial Coliseum.

The first wave of 30 runners hit the course at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, while the ninth and final wave began at 12:30 p.m.

Kelly Flaska, one of the coordinators for the mud run and aquatics and fitness supervisor for the Center for Health Improvement, said there were 270 participants, filling the nine waves completely.

The obstacles runners faced during the course included hay bales, tires, mud pits with a low army crawl, low and high hurdle sequences, climb and jump obstacles, a water slide and more.

Emily Washburn, one of the coordinators for the run and designer of the course, said three new obstacles were introduced to the course, changing not only the layout, but difficulty of the course from last year.

"The level of difficulty has increased from last year, just mainly because we have three obstacles that we had built this year to make the course different," said Washburn, "Those are going to be tougher than last year."

Washburn, assistant wellness director and instructor of health and human performance at FHSU, was right.

"It was great until the ropes at the end," said Jen Fields, operating room nurse at HaysMed.

Fields participated in last year's mud run and was accompanied by three co-workers and friends at this year's mud run. Fields was the veteran of the group, but stressed the importance of not giving up, getting ready to get dirty and have fun.

Before the group's wave started at 10:30 a.m., Casey Gormenty, operating room nurse at HaysMed, said she was a little nervous because it was her first time participating in the mud run, but she was not afraid of getting a little dirty.

"That's the part I'm looking forward to," she said.

The group of four, which had matching purple "Honey badger don't care" T-shirts, completed the course in less than 30 minutes.

Male and female winners from each wave were crowned, with winners receiving free entry into a remaining event at CHI this year or to the 2013 Big Creek Mud Run.

Matt Dumler, teacher at Holy Family Elementary School and track and cross country coach at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, finished first out of his wave with a time of 12:42.

Even though Dumler finished first in his wave, he said portions of the course were tough.

"We didn't have walls last year, but we had two of them this year," Dumler said. "It was fun though."

Jeff Rhoden, track coach at Trego Community High School, finished a minute or so behind Dumler and agreed this year's course changes made it harder.

"The actual obstacles themselves were tougher," Rhoden said. "There were fewer vehicles this year, there was only one. Last year, they had four or five vehicles, that was pretty cool."

Rhoden said this is his 11th race he has done this year, three of which have been mud runs.

"I like doing these because they are a lot different than the road races, and they are pretty fun," Rhoden said.