'Covered head to toe in mud, but they’ve got a huge smile on their face'

'Covered head to toe in mud, but they’ve got a huge smile on their face' »Play Video
A Rad Run participant lands face first after getting a running start and after a volunteer had squirted more soap on the slip and slide. (Photo by Guru Amar Khalsa)

EUGENE, Ore. - Wearing a variety of colorful running gear or costumes, participants in the inaugural Rad Run on Saturday emerged grinning from the first obstacle caked in mud from the knees and elbows down.

Little did the runners know it was the least muddy obstacle.

That was the first of more than 30 obstacles, including hay bales, car tires, tunnels, rabbit holes, hurdles, mud pits, mattresses and the crowd favorite: slip and slide.

The 5K course crossed the rolling hills north of Fern Ridge Reservoir between rows of grapevines. Switching back and forth and around the hill, the trail was far from straightforward.

"It's a local Oregon 5K with the most obstacles, more than any other 5k obstacle courses in the state,” said Jordan Kent, a course management official and University of Oregon graduate. “And we’re excited because it was a local—kind-of—birth that decided this, and we’re giving back to local charities.

“I’m really impressed with how great of a time people are having,” Kent said. “When they come through the finish line they’re just covered head to toe in mud, but they’ve got a huge smile on their face, and that’s all that matters.”

Be Best Wellness, a boot camp program in the Eugene-Springfield community that brought more than 70 people, showed up for the fun with their two teams, Rhino and Ninja Frog.

“The idea is to go through every single one as a group, making sure every one gets through together,” Team Ninja member Kathy Gore said. “We’re all at different levels and abilities, but we put that aside and just get through every obstacle.”

Watch a video about Team Ninja

Gore explained that one of their team members was really sick, the real reason the group was out there on Saturday. “We just wanted to pull together and do this, be strong for Connie.”

Apart from creating smiles, The Rad Run wanted to raise over $50,000 for local charities, according to their mission goal on the website, with the help of vendors like the local Sammitch food cart, local breweries and Chipotle. Many mascots, including Marti the Cow from Dari Mart, Matty the Mattress from Mattress Mania, Sluggo from the Eugene Emeralds and Raddie the Rad Rabbit showed up to support the event as well.

Creswell Athletic Program is among those benefitting from this event.

“They brought out 60 high school kids at 6 a.m. on a bus,” Kent said. “That’s impressive on a Saturday!”

“That’s one of the best parts about having a local event like this,” Kent said.  “You get a chance to really impact your community in a positive way.”

Community members came out of the race with smiles on their faces, even with the extra pounds of mud filling up their shoes and socks, and a feeling of success when they crossed the finish line, mostly due to the more than 80-yard slip and slide on the course.

“I’ve got addicted to this sort of thing. That one big water slide at the end made it all worth it,” Chris Angermayer said.

Many other runners echoed his thought.  

“It’s going so well that we might have to do another one of these things in the fall, to be honest,” Kent said. “So stay tuned because I think we’ll work out a couple things and have another one of these ready around October.”

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