Let’s look at this from the perspective of the frogs.
Say you’re living your peaceful froggy life at your little pond, hopping around, snagging a fly here and there. And then one summer day you hear echoing through the woods a bunch of hoots and hollers and giggles and squeals. And then all of the sudden a bunch of colorfully-dressed people come tearing through the trees, happily jump into your murky little pond, paddle messily to the other side, and then go jogging off in the other direction, their soggy shoes going “squidge, squidge, squidge” as they run.
Had they the words, one frog might turn to the other and remark, “These humans are nuts.”
No, actually. This is what it looks like when we are enjoying ourselves.
“It is fun, as crazy as that may seem,” said Conneautville’s Heather Patton, shortly after finishing her run at the inaugural Muddy and Messy 5K, which weaved its way through the woods and corn fields behind Shadyside Campground in Harmonsburg on Saturday morning.
She and the other runners not only dove through ponds, they also scaled hills, skipped across creeks, climbed walls of hay bales, dodged hanging tires, and zoomed down a makeshift 30-foot waterslide into a surprisingly deep basin of water.
“It was pretty cool,” said Mike Keep of Girard. The Muddy and Messy was his first mud run. He was using it as a warm-up for the more extreme Warrior Dash in Ohio in a couple weeks.
“It’s different than running a regular 5K,” said Keep. “The hills make it a lot more difficult. And running on that mud, it’s kind of like you’re running on grease. You take two steps forward and one step back.”
Despite the conditions, Keep managed to post the second-fastest time in the race, finishing in 25:10.40.
The fastest time belonged to Ripley, N.Y.’s Adam Rowe, who finished the 3.1-mile course and its 10 or so obstacles in 24:03.90.
Patton had the fastest time for female runners, clocking a 25:14.00, good enough for third overall.
Just under 600 of those crazy humans turned out for the race.
“It is a great turnout,” said Keith Coleman, the race’s organizer. “It’s about 200 over what I expected for the first year. I’d say it’s about a 1,000-person event, counting all the spectators and everything.”
Coleman started the Muddy and Messy for two reasons, he said. One was to give people something fun to do (people that consider this type of thing fun, at least). And the other was to establish an annual fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“I have a 92-year-old grandmother and she’s in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease,” he said, “and I wanted to do something for my grandmother and my mom, who is her primary caregiver.”
Coleman will make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association for this year’s tournament.
He hopes that donation will grow into a large annual contribution for the charity as the race gets larger in the years to come.
“We will expand it,” he said. “Next year, we’re hoping for 1,200 to 1,300 runners. We should at least be able to double (this year’s attendance).”
While Rowe and Keep and Patton had finished their race, still waiting to start in the fourth and final heat of the day were the four girls of the Dirt Skirt Divas — Alicia Stevenson, Stacy Kolbe, Vanessa Nicols and Marsha Racop, all representing Cambridge Springs Rehabilitation and Nursing.
Each wearing tutus of black and hot pink, the four ladies danced with nervous energy, thinking about what lay in wait for them in the woods beyond the starting line.
“Why are we doing this? We’re doing this to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association and just to do something fun,” said Stevenson.
“Team-building,” added Nicols.
About 40 to 50 minutes later, the four girls had emerged from the woods, having lived up to their team’s name (the skirts were indeed dirty) and having achieved their goal of having fun.
Although, the day wasn’t without incident.
“This,” said Stevenson, motioning towards a giant muddy smear on the front of her black T-shirt, “is the end result of me versus the root.”
“Yeah, Alicia fell and we all laughed,” said Racop.
“And then — karma — Stacy fell, and we all laughed. And then I fell.”
This is what we call having a good time.
“Oh my gosh, it was a blast,” said Racop.
“It was great,” Stevenson said.
Let’s look at this from the perspective of the frogs.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Bulldogs hold on to beat Rockets
“That,” said Meadville’s head boys basketball coach Mark McElhinny, “is called getting over the hump.”
The hump: Meadville’s unfortunate habit during the early part of the season of giving up the lead in the fourth quarter.
Getting over it: Finally breaking the habit on Friday night, hanging on for a 50-46 victory over Region 5 opponent Slippery Rock on the road.
H.S. WRESTLING: Longstreth’s late decision lifts Bulldogs to win
When Titusville won the coin flip and the right to pick the matchups for Thursday night’s Region 4 dual match against Crawford County rival Meadville, it looked as though the wind was blowing in the Rockets’ favor.
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Scott Palotas’ first two weeks as the head coach of the Maplewood boys basketball team hadn’t gone so well. But on Wednesday, the Maplewood alumnus could finally celebrate.
The Tigers handed Palotas the first win of his coaching career last night with a 54-24 rout of Youngsville in Region 3 action at the Woodshed.
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For three quarters, the sharp-shooting Anthony Cannone had no answer for Meadville’s Faizon McClure. But not even McClure’s strong defensive effort was enough to contain the returning all-Region 5 second teamer in the fourth with the game on the line.
Cannone, who was just 1 of 9 through the first three quarters, knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 15 points in the fourth quarter as Hickory rallied back to defeat Meadville 62-61 in a thriller on Tuesday at the House of Thrills.
Cards fly past Blue Devils
Five games into the 2013-14 season and no one has yet to stop the Cochranton boys basketball team.
The Cardinals’ latest victim was Cambridge Springs, who went down hard to the Redbirds 71-35 on Tuesday night.
“We’re still improving,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy. “There is still so much to work on. We’re so far from arrived. ... We’ve just got to keep improving every game. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, look to improve. So yeah, we’re happy with the win, but we still want to get better.”
Cochranton rolls to region win over Cambridge Springs
When Kendell Dickson puts her foot down to stop an opposing team’s scoring run, she does it with authority.
The Cochranton girls basketball team jumped out to a big lead early at home Monday night, only to watch Region 3 rival Cambridge Springs claw its way back into the contest early in the second half.
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