As it turns out, the near-freezing temperature on Saturday, October 29th wasn’t the obstacle. The obstacles were the barbed-wire fence, the mud pit, the giant spider web, and the other products of mischievous minds that made the Great Muddy Escape a success.
The Great Muddy Escape was planned and coordinated by the Huntsville Memorial Hospital, with Karen Bilsing doing a great job in a leadership role. Everyone knows that the hospital treats people with illnesses, but it also promotes wellness, the idea that people should proactively promote healthy habits–in mind, body, and spirit. And a fun event such as The Great Muddy Escape does just that.
It also raises money for a good cause. All the profits will go to the YMCA. With approximately 200 participants and many generous sponsors, the YMCA enjoyed a nice a boost in fundraising, which means more kids get to experience a positive, educational environment in the Y’s new home at 2906 Old Houston Road.
In its most basic form, the Great Muddy Escape is an obstacle course. There are a dozen obstacles, from the aforementioned barbed wire, mud pit, and spider web, to tires, pine tree shinnying, and running through a deep creek. It’s also 5 kilometers, not exactly a marathon, but much more difficult when you have to crawl through mud and under barbed wire to complete the race.
There were some real standouts. Jody Slaughter, for example, ran the course in about 27 minutes, winning the 40-49 category. Margaret Gulledge ran the course in about 32 minutes, second in her age category, which she bribed our adviser to list as the 30-39 group. Sarah Raney made it in a little over 20 minutes, top for females of any age.
Gulledge and Raney also work for the Hospital, and along with Slaughter, Dustin LeNorman, the staff at General Sam’s (thanks Steve and Sherry!), the YMCA, and many others, they did a great job helping coordinate the show. It was a really nice fundraiser, especially for a first-time event. It’s a real pleasure to participate in an event put on by great people for a great cause.
The sponsors were also a big part of the program. The One Percenters Prison Ministries band (probably the first time they had played at General Sam’s, we’re just guessing) did a great job, and Huntsville Memorial Hospital, KSAM, Michelle Hebert, MD, Madisonville Veterinary Hospital, KHVL, Amerigroup, Wiesner, Mahaffey Wellness Center, Team Synergy, Me n My Pal Prints, Conroe Diamond Exchange, Team Dodge, First Financial Bank, Hillcrest Ford, First National Bank, Stevenson Beer Distribution, American Bank, Huntsville Aviation, Nutrition Central, Long Veterinary Clinic, Northside Baptist Church, Double Dave’s Pizzaworks, Schlotzsky’s, and Subway all chipped in to help make a great event, promote wellness (thanks Stevenson Beer Distribution!), and raise funds for the YMCA.
By the way, they also had a great “family” course. It was only one mile and with milder obstacles, but it was also a lot of fun.
Although not all participants tackled the obstacles with equal gusto.
Finally, I would just note that the competition can get quite cutthroat. Trent Coots, for example, is a fine, upstanding Christian, a YMCA employee, and by all accounts an excellent husband and father. He plays in our annual Charity Football Fundraiser, which raises funds for a good cause. As seen in the picture below, however, he simply watches as an unidentified male (morgue speak: John Doe), drowns in mud.
Other than that small setback, the event was a great success, and a great team building exercise for the Political Science Junior Fellows.
Thanks to the great organizations and individuals who put this on, and count us in for next year.