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CC’s Outdoor Journal; Into the mud we go!
I have made a promise to myself, that as long as I am able to walk, laugh, run and enjoy myself, I will never be too old to play in the mud. And, I’m thankful that I have friends who feel the same way.
Back in March I remembered my cousin Darcy had competed in a mud challenge in 2012 and it looked like so much fun. She was covered from head to toe in brown sludge and the smile on her face was priceless. So, I went in search of the particular challenge and found it right away.
The Into the Mud Challenge takes place at the Gorham Middle School, is sponsored by Oakhurst and organized by University of Southern Maine, with the proceeds benefiting the USM Sports Management Scholarship Fund. Just about $15,000 was raised during the event.
I contacted my friends and the first three to jump at the opportunity were Barb Rajaniemi, Sue Lajoie and Sheila Morrison. We had absolutely no idea what we were in for, but the photos online assured us we would definitely get dirty. We were excited.
Knowing that the event was just for fun there was no pressure, but don’t we all have a little competitive streak in us?
There is a costume contest involved, but after hashing out a few different team names we decided on Mud Season. We would have more time to think costume for next year.
The day of the event the sun shone brightly and warmed things up quickly. We stood in a sea of people dressed as wonder women, batmen, trolls, Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3 and Thing 4 and several others with creative ideas. We pondered what we would do next year.
As the first two waves of participants, the individuals and the co-ed teams, headed out onto the course, we could see a billow of red, blue, and orange smoke at the first corner. Not really sure what it was, we forgot about it and the all-women teams continued to wait our turn.
It was so exciting to see some of the individuals returning before we left. The anticipation was eating at us, we just wanted to get going.
As Oakie, the Oakhurst acorn took his/her place at the start line, we all got ready to roll. As the horn went off we all did our best to stick together, as we knew we had to cross the finish line holding hands as a team.
Remember that colored smoke? As it turns out, it was chalk dust. As we neared the corner, we got pelted with it. It stuck to our clothes, in our hair, I felt it in my ear and nose. I was covered in blue on one side and then I got slammed with red. Sheila was behind me and was covered in orange. Thus, the laughter began.
Now, the course map showed us there were 22 obstacles ahead of us, but for the life of me I just cannot seem to remember that many. We were having so much fun. And, you guessed it, the competitive nature came out in Sue, Sheila and me.
Trying to gently encourage our soft-hearted and supportive Barb, we were a little ways ahead as we heard her cheering on the teams that were passing her. At one point, we turned around to wait for her and she was helping other teams out of the mud obstacles.
At the next obstacle we waited for her, and as she stepped into the mud, we all had handfuls of wet sludge waiting for her. She had been so delicate to not get her shirt dirty, so we had to help her out a little. After all, it was a mud challenge.
Moving on, laughing, dirty, encouraging other teams, those teams encouraging us; we were having a blast. Why on earth had we not done this before?
As we came out of the woods toward the last obstacle, a wall dubbed the Green Monster, things came to a standstill. Teams were backed up as four people at a time climbed over the wall. We had a chance to see what everyone else looked like coming out of the challenge and noticed how weighed down some of the more elaborate costumes were with mud.
Fifteen minutes later it was our turn to scale the wall. Together we climbed up and as Sue, Sheila and I were climbing down the other side, there was Barb, stopped at the top, cheering. She is truly a cheerleader!
We all laughed and shook our heads, waited for her to climb down and we were off to the finish line. Again, Barb lagged behind to help cheer others on, so the three of us went back to grab her. Sheila and I grabbed an arm, Sue had Sheila’s and we sprinted for the finish line, laughing.
I’m convinced that we burned more calories laughing than we did competing, as it really didn’t feel like exercise. It was just fun.
Afterwards, we all agreed that we had to get more friends involved next year and jazz up our costumes. This was an adventure to remember.
If there is something out there that you want to try, please don’t let your age or your physical capabilities slow you down. There were men and women of all ages and sizes out on that course and they were having just as much fun as we were, if not more.