Down & dirty: the toughest thing I've ever done that I'd love to do again

8:10 PM, Sep 13, 2010   |    comments
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  • MS Society's Mud Run Twin Cities
  • The finish line in the MS Society's Mud Run Twin Cities
  • Jeff Olsen in the MS Society's Mud Run Twin Cities
  • KARE 11's Jeff Olsen with MS Society- MN Chapter President Holly Anderson
  • Jeff Olsen in the MS Society's Mud Run Twin Cities
  • Jeff Olsen, Dan Zapzalka in the MS Society's Mud Run Twin Cities
  • The giant slide of the MS Society's Mud Run Twin Cities
  • Dan Zapzalka, Jeff Olsen at the half way mark of the Mud Run

DRESSER, Wisc. -- This weekend the Minnesota Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society held its first annual Mud Run Twin Cities fundraiser at Trollhaugen. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Awesome!

The best part of the weekend came before anyone had been "baptized by puddle" when MS Society Chapter President Holly Anderson announced the Mud Run had surpassed participation and fundraising goals.

"We have 1,500 runners today and this event is bringing in $250,000 to get us closer to a cure for MS," Anderson announced to cheers on Saturday morning.

It was the perfect way to start a morning that would end up being one of the most challenging and rewarding in a long while.
So what's the Mud Run? It's a 10K cross country run through a ski area mixed with a military style obstacle course that's drenched in water. Timber hurdles, rope swings, ladders, muck and MUD!

I ran the whole thing with my friend Dr. Dan Zapzalka. (I figured having medical help only a few steps away was a good plan.) We joked that the only thing missing from the mix was sniper fire.

It was the hardest thing we've done in a long while. At the same time it was pretty cool to know our 40-something bodies could still take a Mud Run licking and keep on ticking. My knees are still screaming at me, but this too shall pass.

The truth is, for a person living with MS, there are many days that feel like a run through the run. MS is a tricky disease that attacks different people in different ways. There is a detailed explanation of multiple sclerosis on the MS Society's website.

I've been a volunteer with the MS Society for nearly a decade now. If you are looking for an organization that does good work and has a lot of fun, then this is your cause. I hope you'll consider the Mud Run or one of the MS Society's other (cleaner) events.

More mud fun

The Mud Run is a new event for the MS Society. It has something in common (dirt) with another adventurous event. The annual Crawl For The Cure takes you out of the mud and puts you in a vehicle.

The Crawl 4 the Cure is what the MS Society calls a "stand alone" activity. That means volunteers put together their own event and donate the proceeds to the MS Society. This one brings together off road vehicle enthusiasts to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Trail riding takes place at the 1200 acre Iron Range Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in Gilbert, Minnesota. Organizers say the beginners have fun exploring the capabilities of their stock 4x4's while seasoned veterans piloting custom rock buggies find extreme rock crawls as tough as anything, anywhere in the in world.

The 2010 edition organized by John Johnson and friends was another big success, bringing the event's six-year fundraising total to $209,000! You can read more about the event on the Crawl 4 the Cure website.

Taking a bite out of MS

And if you missed it earlier this year, check out how one of the participants in Challenge Walk MS Twin Cities is raising money. Watch this story to see Dr. Kent Confeld's unique way of taking a bite about of multiple sclerosis.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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