Students have fun in the mud at local charity event
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 16:08
Trekking through the sludge and dirt and tackling obstacles along the way, participants in the American Mud Race helped to raise money for charity. Among the hundreds of racers, many UCF students were present and ready to get muddy. They were successful in raising money as well as getting dirty.
American Mud Race is working with West Orange Habitat for Humanity’s Home at Last project. Since 2007 Home at Last has been providing one mortgage-free home every year for severely wounded combat veterans.
“We were able to give $5,000 to the Home at Last project. We couldn’t be happier about the event,” said Tyler Bloechinger, co-founder of the AMR.
Participants ran the 3.4-mile mud track in waves. Each individual or team signed up for a certain start time so as not to overload the course. The earliest times, beginning at 8:30 a.m., filled up first due to the hot weather. The obstacle-strewn course ended with a big red, white and blue waterslide followed by two small victory fires over which participants had to leap as they approached the finish line.
After completing the endeavor, racers were free to enjoy the live music, food and drinks and spectate while others ran the course. Participants could race individually, though many signed up in teams. Racers gathered at the finish to wait and watch while cheering on teammates.
“I heard about the mud race because a friend of mine made a team,” said Sandy Vera, a pre-med senior at UCF.
Racers, some of whom formed their own teams, heard about AMR in many ways via social media, word-of-mouth and even at their workplaces.
“Where I work, Wyndham Resort in Bonnet Creek, actually sponsored for 10 of us to come down here,” said Kristen Bresnihan, a UCF master’s student studying mental health counseling. “My favorite obstacle was the cargo net.”
There were several obstacles that could easily be seen from the viewing area, but others weren’t in plain sight as the track snaked toward the wooded area at the back. No one will miss a photo opportunity, though, as AMR provided photographers to take snapshots of participants as they endured the race.
Groups of mud-covered people partied after the race, cooling off with beer and other cold drinks. The smell of barbecue wafted through the air adding to the carnival-like atmosphere of the after party consisting of colorful tents, crowds of people and music. AMR T-shirts were for sale at one tent and many of the crowd members were already wearing them.
Food for the event was sponsored by Terrace 390, run by another UCF alumnus connected with the birth of the AMR. Alcoholic beverages were available to those with the approved wrist bands from another AMR sponsor, Michelob Ultra. The Michelob Ultra tent stayed busy all day with a line stretching longer than any of the others. Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando at Millennia had a tent set up with drinks and food available for those who purchased VIP wristbands. Another sponsor, Red Bull, had a couple beverage tents set up as well.
The Home at Last tent provided information about the project and how to volunteer. There were also pictures and stories available about some families that this project has already helped.
Saturday was the first race and there are more races lined up. The next one is scheduled for Dec. 8 in South Florida.