Mud slinging can be family fun

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In today's political atmosphere where both the parties and both the Presidential Candidates apparently bent on saying disparaging things about each other, it was refreshing to hear a mother say with a smile to her child, "Go play in the mud".

I'm not kidding.  I really could not believe my ears. I know my mother would never tell us to do that.  I know we never told our children to do it. And when I asked my daughter in relation to my two grand daughters, she answered, "why not". This left me dumbfounded, so I investigated further.

What I found was the 3rd Annual Mud Crazy event. I found out that it was taking place in Newbury Park, CA.  This is a city about 5 miles from where I live. Looking into it further, I learned it was the creation of one of my Co-Owners who sits on the on the Board of the Amgen Tour of California with me... Jim Passantino.

As you all know, the ATOC is America's foremost road cycling race (the closest thing we have to the Tour de France). When I arrived at the destination, Los Dos Vientos Park on Borchard, what I found, both amazed and delighted me.

There were approximately 3000 spectators, lots of colorful booths, plenty of vendors and over 1200 people who had entered to compete in this unusual event entitled "Mud Crazy". Wow!

Much to my surprise, it turned out to be an exciting event, run in an extremely professional way. There were a variety of heats and distances in varying categories.

The runners were in all categories as well.  There were the super-fit in mixed age groups, the serious runners who competed in the 10K. The 10K actually took runners into, up and over the Santa Monica Mountains.

The running masses were mostly in the 5K event.  In all case, there were over 38 obstacles.  How can I best describe the event?  Well, it is a combination of the Grand de Paris, the international horse race for 3-year olds which first took place in 1863 and is run annually each June at the famed Longchamps Track in Paris.  Couple it with Mud Wrestling and you get a pretty good idea.

The competitors came in all sizes and shapes: male, female, adults, boys and girls, single and in teams. They start out in flights, all running against the digital clock.

200 feet out of the starting blocks they are immediately immersed in the first mud obstacle. It was 20' long and like a military infiltration course, for those of you who were in the service, it was covered with netting so runner  couldn't stand up.

From there, they ran through tunnels, negotiated a maze of ropes (the spider web), over fences, navigated a 200' long Mud Pit, called the Crawl and scurried through water-filled tunnels on the way to the finish line.

Every contestant finished! As in every outdoor race, many were gasping for air.  However, all though dirty and tired, each  finished the Mud Rinwith a smile. In fact,  many signed up for next year.

If only, a Mud Crazy Run could settle our electoral differences? I remember when the Boston Marathon had only 100 participants.  In my opinion, this could become a big event.

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Sports Scrapbook
Shelly Saltman has been in the sports world as an executive, TV producer, broadcaster and event creator for more than 50 years. Among his credentials are his work with Muhammad Ali and Evel Knievel, the numerous network TV shows he produced and created, NBA/NHL management roles, co-creator of the Amgen Tour of California and as the first president of Fox Sports. He lives in Ventura County.