On June 22, Marquette Mountain will host the second Annual Marquette Mud run. The run was a huge success last year topping out at 284 runners, but as of Thursday morning over 500 people have registered to run in the second competition. Registration is open until 8 AM the day of the race. Organizer Jim Grundstrom anticipates that number will continue to climb until the race commences at 11 a.m.
The freshly redesigned course comes in a 2-mile and 4-mile variety, and this year has eliminated the 660-foot vertical climb which was blasted in feedback by the runners from last year. Grundstrom also addressed the complaint that the upper body had not been given enough of a test in last year’s course, and has added new obstacles to ensure that your entire body is equally sore and throbbing once you cross the finish line.
“Last year we felt our way into it. Now we have a year under our belt.” Grundstrom said.
Grundstrom beamed with pride as he described some of his favorite new obstacles, including the new cargo net which would be added to the flatland portion of the race.
This is not your kindergarten playground’s cargo net. In a nod to the maritime theme which seems near unavoidable in a harbor town like Marquette, the race organizers obtained an actual cargo net from a ship.
There was also a lot of pride in the usage of all the natural mud pits that form on the mountain during the less snowy months. In addition to creating the bigger mud sections, naturally-formed mud pits across the course will be used.
"(Part of the course) goes on the back side of the mountain," Grundstrom said. "The workers call it Sherwood Forest, because the trees create such a canopy that its dark in the daylight, so the mud pits are naturally there."
Grundstrom also said that use of the mountain's ski resources will add unique challenges to the course. most instantly motioned to the snow gun placed above a slide which is the focal point for the children’s mud park. The snow guns provide them with a nearly unimaginable amount of water. The pipes hold 80,000 gallons, and when they’re all pushed up to the top of the mountain the day before, the pressure is so great that the water doesn’t even need to be pumped to be sent flying across the mountain.
The race will benefit a number of charitable movements connected to Marquette Mountain and the local area. The Marquette Ski Patrol uses the funds raised to help continue first aid education, as well as the Marquette General Hospital’s Women and Children’s Program. A children's safety project in connection with other local businesses provide helmets and teach snow safety to children around Marquette. Last year’s program gave away 142 helmets to children. They are hoping to increase that total this year.
The word of the day was “recreational.” While applauding the respect of the “big boys,” of mud-running such as Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash, Grundstrom stressed that the Marquette Mud Run is for a different audience. The hardcore mudders may find it boring and less challenging than they like, but newcomers are more than welcome to try the course. And Grundstrom believes that they have built a course that will get people to return and bring a friend next year.
But at the end of the day, after all the money is appropriated to the causes to help children be safe, the course is cleaned up, and the runners are proudly boasting to their friends, Grundstrom hopes that he gave “everyone the opportunity to run a really fun race.”