Perfect weather and the promise of a messy adventure drew about 900 racers and even more spectators for the area’s first mud run Saturday.
The race was one of two this year put on by Rogue Runner.
“It’s fun as heck,” said Bruce Benesh of Columbia, S.C., who was participating in such a race for the first time.
“I’d like to do about four a year,” he said. “It’s just the adventure. Something new and different.”
The 6-mile course had about 30 obstacles around the perimeter of West Point Lake at Pyne Road Park, including a dive from a platform into the lake, water slide, 10-foot wall and cargo net and other challenges.
“I learned an important lesson,” said Billy Campbell of Montgomery, Ala. “You roll through barbed wire. You don’t crawl.”
Octavis Smiley of LaGrange was in the U.S. Army for 22 years and said the obstacle course was more challenging than the ones he’d face in the service. He finished the course in 1:55.
“It’s not 58 minutes, but I finished,” he said. “I’ll be faster next time.”
Organizers of the race called the event a “great day” and said they’d plan on coming back to LaGrange.
“It’s an amazing location,” said Andy Liverman, founder of the race. “The people have been amazing. We’ve been given the keys to the county.”
Liverman said he created the race, which is similar to other events like “Tough Mudder,” because he was an athlete in college and missed doing activities with his friends that were less organized than stick and ball sports. He used the help of his uncle, who has experience in set design, and two friends who worked in the circus to create the obstacles, along with a host of other volunteers on race day.
Even though participants were timed as individuals, some of the obstacles required teamwork to complete.
“You can see, most people need help to get up the 10-foot wall,” Liverman said.
Local hosts also were pleased with how the day went.
“This is a great turnout,” said J.J. Kuerzi, with Troup County Parks and Recreation. “You can see all the license plates (from other states) in the parking lot and know that this is having a great economic impact.”
A concert and party for the racers was held after the event, and part of the proceeds from the day went to West Georgia Health for the construction of a new cancer clinic.
• Official results of the race can be found at the Rogue Runner website at www.roguernr.com.