MARQUETTE - For anyone that ever got into trouble as a child for making a big mess - or envied those who did - the Marquette Mountain Mud is for you.
Saturday morning the area's ski hill will host the inaugural running of this mud run at both the top and the bottom of Marquette Mountain.
"You'll get wet and muddy, but we have our snow guns ready to wash you off at the bottom," MM general manager Vern Barber said.
Team Muskratz of Marquette from left, Lauren Veale, Lindsay Schramm, Garrett Schramm and Adam LaVigne jump into a mud pit at the first annual Suicide Bowl Mud Plunge in Ishpeming on Aug. 27, 2011. (Journal file photo)
He added that he's tested parts of the course.
"I think I'd want to hang around the water slide for awhile," he said, laughing. "This isn't a crazy-tough mudder, though we did model it somewhat after the Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash events.
"We wanted to give the Tough Mudder people what they're looking for, but still let everybody have fun just getting muddy and wet."
The five-kilometer course starts at the ski chalet before heading south in a loop and going to the top of the hill, about a 600-foot vertical rise, then works its way back along the top before coming back downhill at the other side of the hill and finishing again at the chalet.
The 14 different obstacles listed in 25 spots on the course take advantage of the hill's natural features and include hay bales, mud pits, military crawls, steep inclines, culverts, water hazards and even snow piles leftover from the skiing season.
It is run by the all-volunteer Marquette Mountain Ski Patrol, which was looking for a fundraiser after it hosted the Superior Bike Fest for several years. Sponsors include Marquette Mountain, Marquette General Hospital, Upper Peninsula Health Plan, Frei Chevrolet, M.J. Electric, Schneider Iron & Metal and Monster Energy Drink.
The event will include competition for the fastest times, but Barber expects most people to enter it just to have fun.
"Ishpeming did one last year (the Suicide Mud Plunge) and it was a huge success," Barber said. "We feel that like the biking and running events, our area has room for two of this type of event."
The Marquette Mountain Mud is open to everyone ages 14 and up, but those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult at registration.
Cost is $35 through Friday and $45 on the morning of the race with a limit of 1,000 entrants. Entrants receive a commemorative dog tag and a sports drink at the finish line, while the first 500 signed up also receive a T-shirt.
In addition, prizes include commemorative jerseys, mugs, gift certificates and paid registration for the 2013 event will be given to top finishers overall, by age and for four- to six-member teams, along with the best fashions of decades including the 1960s, '70s and '80s.
People will be sent out in small groups to tackle the course. Registration opens at 9 a.m. and the first runners will start at 11 a.m.
Barber expects the elite runners may be able to finish the course in 45 minutes, with recreational entrants probably taking another 30 to 45 minutes more.
Medical support will be available along the course, along with three refreshment aid stations and sanitary facilities. Personal bags to stow gear will also be available for a small fee.
Spectators are welcome, and while the ski lifts won't be available this year, access to the top of the mountain will, either by walking or possibly by truck.
"That's where the gooiest, messiest parts will be," Barber said.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.