MARQUETTE - More than 600 people went to Marquette Mountain Saturday, ready to get dirty for the second annual Mud Run - more than double the number of participants from last year.
"(Marquette Mountain) is a perfect place for an event like this," said Jim Grundstrom, patrol director for the Marquette Mountain Ski Patrol, which sponsors the event. "Having it at Marquette Mountain allows us to be very creative."
Racers were taken by chairlift to the top of the hill where they began either a 2- or 4-mile trek down through mud pits, a slip-n-slide, a river crossing and an obstacle course, before coming to the finish line back at the ski lodge.
Aubree Peterson of Escanaba makes her way through a mud pit near the end of the course at the Marquette Mountain Mud Run at Marquette Mountain on Saturday. (Journal photos by Zach Jay)
Vanessa Vencato of Marquette and Austin Handley of Clarkston make a splash at the bottom of the slip-n-slide at the event. (Journal photos by Zach Jay)
Participants make their way through an obstacle course toward the end of the race. (Journal photos by Zach Jay)
The ski patrol was raising funds with the Mud Run to provide first-aid education for patrol members, all of whom are volunteers, Grundstrom said.
"Last year, we raised about $6,000," he said. "I think this year we'll double that."
He said the Mud Run is expected to continue to grow, with as many as 1,000 participants next year.
In addition, this year the ski patrol is partnering with the Marquette General Hospital Women & Children's Center and the Kohl's Cares program to provide new helmets to kids who attend "Snow Daze" at Marquette Mountain, when the ski patrol will host snow safety programs.
Last year, Kohl's provided 148 kids with new helmets, Grundstrom said, but there were 40 other kids who weren't able to receive one because they ran out. Some of the proceeds from the Mud Run will supplement funds from the Kohl's Cares program to ensure that this year every child is able to get a helmet.
"It's totally appropriate for the ski patrol to be part of snow safety education," Grundstrom said. "Our very best days are when no one gets hurt at Marquette Mountain."
Zach Jay can be contracted at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.