Fun run in the mud

Mud Run packs in the competitors
By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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Trick or treating began early in Granite Bay, as the inaugural year of the Merrell Down & Dirty National Mud Run Series hit the banks of Folsom Lake on Sunday morning. Michael Epstein Sports Productions has created various marathons and triathlons across the country for the last 23 years, including seven years of the Mud Run Series, which is a muddy off-road course trekking runners along a 5K, 10K or Adventure Kids Race in a boot camp, military-style obstacle course. The muddy course featured obstacles like water crossings, climbing walls and the infamous mud pit to crawl through just before the finish line. More than 4,000 participants from all over Northern California and surrounding regions got down and dirty in the first-ever Sacramento location. Carolyn Blashek, founder and president of Operation Gratitude, said that means there will be at least $8,000 going towards sending care packages to troops around the world. “Each package is delivered to an individual service member by name and contains various entertainment, food, toiletries, personal letters or clothing items worth about $125,” said Blashek. “This is all done with a message to the troops that we appreciate them.” The popularity and unique style of the Mud Run gathered people from far and wide dressed in Halloween costumes or just dressed to get dirty. The costume party kicked things off at 8 a.m. just as the 5K was ready to start. Liz Tyler-Pannell of Modesto stood on the banks of the giant mud pit with her 6-month-old daughter, Aubrey. She and seven friends made the trip, but she and Aubrey stayed clean. “I’m trying to watch the mud pit to see if I can get some pictures of my friends as they come in, said Tyler-Pannell. “This is the wettest and dirtiest spot and this is where you want to be to get a picture.” The top-five finishers in the 5K were Joel Bosserman of Loomis (26 minutes, 9 seconds), Joe Rodrigues of Grass Valley (26:20), Paul Zeiss of Granite Bay (30:00), Michael Colunga of Castro Valley (30:42) and Darin Slade of Folsom (30:42.) The top-five finishers in the 10K were Heith Jones of Sacramento (47:47), Geoff Morrison of Davis (48:30), Casey Newton of Fair Oaks (49:07), Justin Pereira of Woodland (49:10) and Caton Avilla of Wilton (49:110. The top-five finishes in the Adventure Kids 1-mile run were Michael Rubio, 13, of Sacramento (9:21), Trent Hulbert, 10, of Denair (9:21), Nicholas Rubio, 10, of Sacramento (10:02), Blake Griffin, 9, of Folsom (10:04) and Jonathan Trott, 11, of Folsom (10:04). The Mud Run Series will return to Sacramento on Oct. 30, 2011.