As mud-covered runners rounded a corner on Goodman Campus, they were surprised to find a secret obstacle barring their movement. After racing almost two miles through foam machines and muddy barriers, participants in the sixth annual “Your First Mud Run” had to climb a rope over a slip wall before they could reach the finish line.
The family-friendly event, hosted on Sept. 10, was geared toward beginners. About 300 people ages 6 and up participated in this year’s race.
Runners began behind the football stadium, looped around the other athletic fields twice and ended back where the race started.
Participants paid a $45 fee, which included a free t-shirt and medal. Each runner could choose to race as an individual or as part of a team and was required to sign a waiver before the run.
Program manager Brad Vaccaro said “Your First Mud Run” is the first company in the world to host entry-level mud runs and obstacle racing.
“The run is designed as an entry-level race for first time people and kids who never had the opportunity to do a mud run,” Vaccaro said.
He said participants’ fundraising options are both unlimited and a personal choice.
“We have a system in place where anyone and everyone can fundraise for their own organization,” Vaccaro said.
Sponsors for the events include Kind Bars, MudGear and Orange Mud.
Most of the event advertising revolves around social media and contacts. Vaccaro said the company now has a wide range of contacts it uses to promote the runs.
Travis Spencer, the director of business development at Goodman Stadium, helped organize the event. He said Goodman Stadium provides the space, and “Your First Mud Run” draws out the map for the race and comes the day before to set it up.
“We certainly want it to be as safe and productive for everyone involved,” Spencer said.
Vaccaro said the event has grown in participation each year. Only 80 participants were involved in the first race seven years ago. The number of runners grew to about 90 the next year and then about 150 the year after.
Vaccaro and his team hope to gain more traction in the future.
“My favorite part of the event was seeing so many families having fun and working together to complete the course,” volunteer Alexis Holder, ’20, said.
Lehigh hosted the second “Your First Mud Run” event established by the company. Runs are scheduled to take place in central Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, North Jersey, South Jersey and eastern New York later this year.
Vaccaro said he would like more student participation in next year’s event. He said the event could be a great opportunity for students involved in Greek life and other organizations.