The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

September 30, 2013

Mud Run lives up to its name

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register.com
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — The inaugural Medina Mud Run went off without a hitch and with plenty of mud Saturday morning.

Sponsored by the Orleans County YMCA, 77 people participated what is anticipated to become an annual event.

“We had a lot of positive feedback,” said Jeff Winters, YMCA executive director. “The people were happy to see a lot of mud.”

The YMCA decided to host a mud run of its own earlier this year as a result of the burgeoning popularity of Tough Mudder races. In those races, runners face difficult obstacles and thick mud throughout the course. 

Medina’s version was more of a fun run and was also much shorter, being only a 5K (3.1 miles). Still, Winters said it featured the same principles as its harsher brethren.

“This was designed to be a mental and physical challenge, and the runners said they felt like they met that challenge,” Winters said.

One of those racers was Adam Cifelli, who was the first to finish the course. He ran in the first wave of mudders, and in quite the understatement said it “feels good” to finish first. His time was roughy 32 minutes.

He added, “I liked climbing things and sliding through the mud at the end.” A Lyndonville Central School student, Cifelli ran the course with his older brother. Both run track in Lyndonville, and their parents said watching them is a proud experience.

“I like to see them get out, get exercise, and stick to it,” said their mom, Amy Cifelli. Their dad, Kevin Cifelli, stood nearby and agreed.

Moving forward, Winters said the YMCA board will likely make some minor changes to the event. For example, while Saturday’s run coincided with other happenings in and around Medina, it is possible the Mud Run could move to its own day, perhaps even in a different season. Winters also said there is a possibility of additional obstacles, a lower registration fee for “early birds,” and easier online registration.

One thing Winters said he did not want to see change was the weather.

“We had a couple people ask whether we wanted it to rain today, but no, we didn’t,” he said. “You want people to run on a nice day because there’s more walk-up traffic. And there was already plenty of mud.”

Indeed, one board member who saw Winters monitoring the course jokingly asked where all the mud was about half way through the run.

“At the next obstacle, he got stuck in the mud, almost to his waist,” Winters chuckled.

Other runners also mentioned they expected more mud, but added that they looked forward to seeing the event improve upon its first year.

Meanwhile, the track, it could be said, got progressively more difficult.

At the end, runners had a chance to rinse off and get some free refreshments inside the Sacred Heart Club, which served as both the starting and ending point for the run.