If it means getting active, Warren County residents are willing to get painted and play in the mud.
The community is turning to some rather unusual events as a way to promote physical activity.
In May, Generations held a color run that drew close to 200 participants. Runners were drenched with a rainbow of colors from squirt bottles as they made their way around the exercise trail at McMinnville Civic Center.
That’s been followed by a mud run held last month at Smartt Assembly of God on Manchester Highway. Church youth minister Brandon Eckel came up with the idea of bringing a mud run to Warren County because of their popularity elsewhere.
“My wife and I really enjoy going and doing fun runs as a couple, so I thought why don’t we bring one here so the people of Warren County can enjoy one,” said Eckel, who is an active member of the Air Force and a former Marine. “When I was a Marine, we always enjoyed obstacle courses. This combines an obstacle course and a lot of mud.”
Eckel said he worked nearly a year designing the one-mile obstacle course on the church property with 20 man-made and natural obstacles. The mud run was open to children in two categories, ages 5-12 and 13-18.
“We wanted kids to get out and see they can enjoy activities outside of video games,” said Eckel. “This allowed them to crawl and climb as they played in the mud. We had 72 kids show up who didn’t even know what a mud run was. We’re planning a second one next year but I’ve already had people ask if we can have another one sooner. With the amount of work involved, I think we’ll stick to one a year for now.”
Eckel said he dug the mud pits himself and they were two feet deep. He said participants were all surprised at how deep the mud was.
“I have about four dozen single pairs of shoes I dug out of the mud,” said Eckel. “And those are just the shoes I found. I’m sure there are shoes still in there I didn’t find.”