By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
To call the inaugural Oktoberfest Mud Run a success would be an understatement.
People of all ages showed up to participate in the wacky 5k Saturday morning at Stony Lonesome OHV Park, where their once-clean clothes were left in tatters after the race.
Erika Mead, one of the co-sponsors of the run, couldn't have been more pleased with the way things turned out.
“I think it went extremely well for it being a first-time race,” she said. “It was challenging for the runners without being too difficult.”
Willing participants trekked through numerous mud pits and obstacles, which left many of them gasping for breath at the finish line.
Oh, and the finish line just happened to be on fire.
Shawn Crider, 46, was the first to cross the finish line with a time of 25:53. The Cullman native said he enjoyed himself as much as he thought he would.
“It was great,” Crider said. “I ran in the Warrior Dash last weekend, so I like to do things like this from time to time.”
He added the mud was what made the race so grueling.
“That mud was really tough,” Crider said. “You would just sink and tired yourself out by trying to get out of it.”
When asked if he’d be back for next year’s run, Crider said “absolutely.”
The Mud Run brought out all types of runners, from first-timers to hardened veterans.
One of those veterans was Jessica Phillips, who finished the race in just over 30 minutes.
“This is my sixth 5K of the year so far,” she said. “But trudging through all of that mud wore me out.”
Phillips has also participated in past Warrior Dash races, and she plans to take part in other upcoming events in the area, such as the Monster Dash and Polar Bear Plunge.
“It’s like therapy for me,” Phillips said of the challenging races. “I’m an adrenaline freak for sure.”
Close to 200 runners came out for the event, and with people like Crider and Phillips on-board, Mead hopes that number will increase should there be a second Mud Run.
“I seriously think we will be back with this next year,” Mead said. “Oktoberfest did a great job in helping us promote the event, and I think that really helped our numbers.”
Mead had praise for those who put in the time to get the event off the ground and running.
“I just want to thank the County Commission and the Chamber for making this possible,” she said. “OHV Park was a great host. I just can’t say enough about everyone who helped.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.