The Polson Fairgrounds were transformed into a muddy, messy 5k obstacle course for the 6th Annual Polson Mud Run.
In addition to the numerous obstacles that competitors had to climb over or through, swing over, slide down or make their way across, there was a short swim and a short kayaking test in the Flathead River.
The course made full use of the rodeo arena including the bucking chutes and was central to the course.
Participants completed some of the obstacles in the mud filled arena about midway through the course and then came back to muddy themselves up again at the end of the race. White teeth shone brightly in otherwise muddy brown faces as those partaking in the challenging race thoroughly enjoyed themselves getting sloppy dirty.
Unlike most runs, not all contestants started at the same time. The serious competitors were in the first flight and were timed, but the vast majority of the participants completed the mud run for the fun and teamwork, taking their time on the course, helping each other, and making sure that their teammates got the full mud treatment.
Beginning with the first flight which took off at 9:30 a.m. groups of about 10 individuals were spaced out leaving the starting line about every 15 minutes. Groups could sign up and compete any time until 3 p.m.
They did not have to even be at the fairgrounds until they were ready to compete. One group of friends from Polson — Kendall Straub, Lela Riefe, Meridian Weichman and Scout Wengal, who were participating for the fourth straight year, arrived and signed up around 12:30 p.m.. They were the final team to complete the course this year—wearing their crocks and grins throughout the entire race.
There were around 60 contestants in this 6th edition of the race — a lower number than in past years which averaged around 100 racers. Race officials want prospective participants to know that they should not be intimidated by the run.
Except for the first heat when the serious runners take the course, the rest of the race is really more a fun social event for families and friends to enjoy.
It is an hour or better of running, rolling, and playing in the mud for kids and the young at heart. Also, the money raised from the donations and entry fees go entirely to support the Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County.