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Pay dirt: Mud Run participants get down, dirty for good cause

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Triathlete Rob LaBair slogged through last years inaugural mud run for a first-place finish. He had so much fun that he chose to help plan this year’s race. He collaborated with event organizer Lowell Tyler, and together they invented harder obstacles that mirror the Montana Spartan Sprint race the friends compete in each year in Bigfork.

Participants in Saturday’s 2nd annual Boys and Girls Club Mud Run were challenged by the improved course, which included a rope climb, a rope swing and a tightrope. Failing meant falling into a mucky pit.

After sliding downhill on a “slip and slide,” runners swam a portion of the river and kayaked; they traversed bucking shoots, barn stalls and round bales, and of course, muddy bogs.

While LaBair led the way in the first heat, he said he stopped to make repairs to course obstacles.

For instance, the dual rope swing snapped, dumping LaBair and Jacob Lewis of California into the mud puddle below.

There were more than 16 obstacles in the long 5k course, and fewer challenges in the kids’ one-mile run.

The barn obstacle proved the most difficult for Dee Dee Haines of Ronan, who finished with soggy clothing but a great attitude.

“It was awesome,” Haines said. “The track was amazing and the volunteers did a great job.”

Lewis finished in first place at 39 minutes, just two minutes faster than LaBair. When asked what the grand prize was, Lewis said “mud.”

At the finish line, participants were urged to run and slid into the mud pit on their belly, like Superman. 

“It’s an old tradition we just made up,” Lewis said.

LeBair was also waiting at the finish line, eager to demonstrate the grand-finale slide for the timid and reluctant.

The event is a fundraising for the Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County. The Club provides activities for school-aged children in Polson and Ronan, both after school and during the summer months.


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