Running through the mud for fun and a good cause in Mystic

Over the past several years, "mud runs" and other obstacle course races have become increasingly popular across the country.

Now we're about to get our own race.

The Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Connecticut will hold the "Gettin' Muddy For Kids" 5K and kids' run on Saturday, April 27.

It will be held along the trails at Fields of Fire, a 50-acre paintball facility on Noank-Ledyard Road in Mystic.

Cindy Morrison, the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club, said this week that as a runner she was looking for a way to raise money for the club but she wanted to do something different.

She had heard of mud runs and began talking to people who had competed in them. She said the Greenwich Boys and Girls Club held one last year and it was a big success. A mud run that is part of the national Down and Dirty series is planned for Hartford's Riverside Park on June 23. The Connecticut Warrior Dash is planned for Sept. 21 in Thompson.

So Morrison picked a date which did not conflict with other road races and began planning a course at Fields of Fire, which donated the use of its facility for the event.

Morrison said the event will be a "family friendly mud run," as it will not have the barbed wire, electrified fencing or fire that some of the hardcore Reebok Spartan races have.

But it will have mud pits, a swamp, logs, tires, cable spools, walls and a rope climb for a total of 15 obstacles along the trail course.

There will be a shorter course for children ages 6-12. There will also be a team competition.

Morrison said mud runs are the new thing, especially popular among the CrossFit and adventure running crowds.

"We hope it will be a really fun event and we're hoping we can make it an annual thing," she said.

Competitors will get a T-shirt and there will be wave starts. All proceeds go to the Boys' & Girls Club.

She said she is hoping for a few hundred runners and has already been receiving a lot of interest. She is also looking for volunteers.

The entry fee is $30 in advance and $35 on race day. The entry for four-person teams is $100.

You can sign up and get more information at www.bgcse.org

Sandy Hook Run relocated

So many people are signing up for the March 23 Sandy Hook Run for the Families that it has now been moved to downtown Hartford. The race had previously been planned for downtown Danbury after being moved from Western Connecticut State University. The field rapidly outgrew both venues and organizers did not want to shut anyone out.

The 5K race begins at 10 a.m. and all proceeds benefit the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. More information is at www.HartfordMarathon.com.

There is also a virtual division in which entrants get a T-shirt and number and can run in their own community at the same time. Stephen Bessette, the director of the Battle of Stonington race each August, is planning an event that morning that will allow virtual runners to run the Stonington Borough course together.

Joe Wojtas is The Day's running columnist.

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