Down and dirty fun at Tawasentha Mud Mania

On a normal day, running through Guilderland's hilly Tawasentha Park can be a challenge.

However, if you add in obstacles such as knee-high mud, a cargo net and an oversized slip-n-slide, it becomes a giant fun zone for kids and adults alike.

More than 500 people turned out for last Saturday's inaugural Tawasentha Mud Mania, a wet-and-wild fund raiser for the park's playground and the Rodino Family.

Everybody is a kid at heart, said Town of Guilderland Parks and Recration Department Director Dennis Moore. "They all like to play in the mud."

There were two courses laid out in the park " a 2.8-mile race for adults and a 1-kilometer course for children. Both courses ended with three obstacles that brought out the child in all the competitors " a slog through a knee-high mud ditch, a giant slip-n-slide down part of Tawasentha Park's lower hill and a second mud pit where racers had to crawl underneath ropes laid out low over the pit.

Adult racers had more challenging obstacles to deal with including crossing the Normanskill " a creek that divides the main part of Tawasentha Park from its winter recreation area. There were also large wooden spools racers had to navigate, a cargo net to climb to ring a bell at the top and tires to run through.

"I thought it was crazy, and it was a little hard," said Ballston Lake's Nancy Gallagher.

"The mud wasn't bad," added Joe Bouck of Latham. "I'm all five-foot nothing, so it was easy going through the ropes [in the final stretch]."

The obstacles may have been challenging, but all the racers seemed to enjoy themselves. Some even wore costumes " a concept that organizers encouraged.

Kathy VanValen, of Delanson, wore a fabric pig's head and tail costume that she purchased for the event. The head survived the course, but she said the tail was lost in the muddy ditch.

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