By Christine Galeone, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Where can you find monsters, princesses and athletes scaling walls, crawling through mud and racing over a hillside? The answer is, of course, Ski Ward in Shrewsbury. Saturday, Oct. 11, the Wicked Mud Run III 5K obstacle race will descend upon the Shrewsbury ski area, creating a fun, muddy adventure for local runners.
The Wicked Mud Run series was founded by Southborough entrepreneurs Dan O’Rourke, a married father of two children, and Ray Thompson, a married father of three, while the two friends and their families were vacationing in Nantucket. The series reflects the business partners’ love of sports, endurance and fun. An Ironman triathlete and a former Marine, O’Rourke has been racing in sprint triathlons with his wife Kristen since 1997, while Thompson has worked in the area of sports technology and runs half marathons. Combining their mutual passion for sports and fitness with their hope to create a fun New England event led to the popular race series.
Both men also wanted to form a business that would give back to the community. For that reason, 10 percent of the race proceeds and 100 percent of the raffle proceeds will be distributed among three charities – Autism Speaks, Big Nick’s Ride for the Fallen and the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.
“Hopefully, we’re able to give a good amount of money to these very good charities,” Thompson said.
Open to anyone 13 and older, the RaceMenu timed race appeals to various levels of athletes. There will also be health and safety precautions such as an ambulance on site and designated water stops. Thompson said that they set out to “make a nice local event” that would be challenging for people who enjoy obstacle races but still possible for people who only have experience running 5Ks.
“We had such a wide variety of people last year that it really makes it a fun event,” he said.
This year’s event will once again include a much-anticipated Halloween costume contest and a well-organized course. Sponsored by Chobani, Cisco Brewers, Inov8, Late July Organic, NRG BAR, Sports Authority and ZICO Premium Coconut Water, there will be 50-75 people running each of the three heats starting at 11 a.m. This reduces the chance of bottlenecks on the course full of beams, trenches, walls (which are Thompson’s favorite) and other obstacles. In a response to past participants’ desire to “get a little more muddy,” there will also be a lot more mud.
There will also be raffles, giveaways, food, beer and live music from the local band Bob’s Your Uncle.
Thompson noted that the response to the first two Wicked Mud Run events has been very positive.
Ski Ward ski area is located at 1000 Main St., Shrewsbury. To register, visit the RaceMenu event website at www.racemenu.com/event/42191-Wicked-Mud-Run-III. The cost is $48.25 per person.