This past Saturday, August 3rd, I had the opportunity to run the MuckFest MS on Belle Isle, MI. I hadn't originally intended to run this particular event, but after a series of a cancellations, I ended up there. Let me tell you, I'm glad it worked out that way. It not only gave me the opportunity to run for my own personal cause, but also in support of my Uncle (and godfather) Vern Kloha, work colleague Dan Digmann and his wife Jennifer, and a college friend, Katie, who's family has dealt with the disease in many capacities. In fact, Katie's team that travels around the state for many MS walks and have become incredible advocates for MS, had the largest team at the event of 58. You can learn more about their team at www.thefightingshamrocks.com.

Now, what I will say, is that this was not the most challenging obstacle race for me. However, let me make this abundantly clear as you'll read later, this is not a bad thing at all. At no point in their advertising does MuckFest claim to be a tough challenge (or as the trend goes in OCR to make the claim of being the toughest race of all those out there). Instead they focus on their purpose - a fun event that's meant to bring awareness and fundraise for the MS Society.

In that regard, the MuckFest MS certainly delivered! It was a pretty incredible event to be a part of. Obviously, most races have their own charity they partner with, but this race is specific for Multiple Sclerosis. The course was about raising money and awareness for the disease, those participating having fun, and not about the difficulty of the obstacles. 

Let me start with the beginning of the race. As we gathered for our wave time, a representative of the MS Society for Michigan came out and spoke about how important this event was and how many people in Michigan live with the disease (18,000). She then asked how many people in the wave of several hundred knew someone with MS, and without fail, every single person raised their hand - something I had not witnessed when a similar question has been asked at other events. During the race, many people were walking, even right from the start, but it was evident that this event was not about the race itself, but the support of the MS Society. In all the races I've done, I've never seen such large teams, all with some sort of t-shirt or other form of clothing, speaking to the effect of how they were doing it to fight MS or for a specific person.

While MuckFest MS may not fit the traditional OCR mold, I don't think that's a bad thing. They put on a great event, they had a great turn out, the volunteers were incredibly supportive and encouraging, and the environment was about the cause - what I can only assume was the reason they started the MuckFest MS. With so many OCR's closing down lately, I can only hope that MuckFest MS is able to continue. They offer great fun, for a great cause, and I would encourage anyone looking to enjoy a simple, fun mud run to support an incredible cause, I would certainly encourage you to check out the MuckFest MS.



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