More than 1,800 girls and women to take part in Muddy Mamas
Many ladies will pass on making mud pies in favor of running, jumping, sliding and plunging into mud.
The more than 1,800 girls and women who show up each year to the Muddy Mamas mud run and obstacle course are moving beyond basic notions of what girls are about, and facing new challenges to instill a sense of strength and accomplishment.
That is the idea behind Girls Inc. of Washington County’s Muddy Mamas 2019. The seventh annual fundraiser will take place Saturday, Sept. 14, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center south of Hagerstown.
Girls Inc. Development Director Shana Ruff said the untimed mud run, 5k and obstacle course are about empowerment.
“It’s about daughters – women and girls – getting out of their comfort zone and doing something out of the ordinary to support girls,” she said. “We have girls as young as 10 and women into their 70s, maybe 80s, out there with friends, moms, grandmothers, neighbors and co-workers participating. It’s all ages, all ability levels.”
In past years, Muddy Mamas has netted more than $75,000, all of which goes to Girls Inc. to support programs aimed to inspire girls to be “strong, smart and bold,” Ruff said.
The nonprofit organization serves more than 3,200 girls in the Washington County area each year through after-school programs, summer camps and outreach programs. The group offers classes and field trips to girls ages six to 18 on topics including Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and coding, literacy, gardening, leadership development, sign language, sports and fitness and public speaking.
“We have a dinner program that serves hot, healthy meals. We have vans to pick girls up from schools to bring the girls to our program. It’s a home away from home for most girls, with trusted mentors and staff to really make a difference in the lives of our girls,” Ruff said.
Muddy Mamas is not a run of the mill 5K, Ruff said.
“You hear ‘5K’ and you think it’s something only for runners,” she said. “The great thing is that it’s really for not only athletes but for anyone to get people out of their comfort zone and to do something fun.”
Many participants come from the local community, while others travel from as far away as Florida, Ruff said.
“Some teams come in on Friday night. We get a lot from the Montgomery County, Md., area. Some stay the night and make a girls’ weekend of it,” she said. “It’s great to be able to bring that kind of tourism to Washington County.”
More than 300 community members volunteer for the event, which features 17 obstacles, each with playful names, such as Climbing the Corporate Ladder, which is a set of monkey bars hovering over a giant pit of mud. The Hot Mess Express is a giant slide which lands in a pool of mud, and Never Let ‘Em See You Sweat is a rope swing over a pile of mud. A crowd favorite, Spa Day, is a wire cage under which participants do an army crawl through a pit of mud to emerge filthy and victorious at the opposite end.
“We have a dedicated group of guys who have been doing this for seven years,” Ruff said. “They make up our design team. The entire week before, they are out there creating, building and setting up our 17 obstacles.”
Participants have the option to complete each obstacle or to walk around those which they don’t feel ready to tackle.
Spectators are welcome to cheer participants along the course. Volunteers, friends and family members come out to support the mamas “every step of the way.”
“When I am there on the day of the event, it gives me goosebumps. It is such a positive, wonderful environment. The volunteers who are there to support the mamas get as much satisfaction as the women who participate,” Ruff said. “We hear women celebrating their sense of accomplishment when they cross the finish line. That is the same feeling we want girls to have when they complete our programs.”
Top photo: More than 1,800 girls and women are expected to show up Saturday to the Muddy Mamas mud run and obstacle course at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center south of Hagerstown. (Submitted photo)