By TRAVIS HANDY
On Saturday, Sept. 28, a group of 15 local women got dressed to get dirty; some in ears, one as a zookeeper, and one as … a banana.
The Dirty Girl Mud Run is the largest female-only 5k mud run in the U.S., and it made a stop in Roanoke last weekend. Andrea Schrader and several friends jumped at the chance to put on silly costumes and have a great time being active as a group. The team was out to have fun for themselves as well as for a good cause.
“What a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself,” said Schrader. “Our Pulaski Mud Monkey team was comprised of LewisGale Hospital-Pulaski employees, Zumba class members, friends and family. We all know that exercise is essential to maintain our bodies and minds. When you can make it fun and include your friends, that’s when you can really enjoy being active.”
So the ladies commenced on the course in monkey ears, chasing Schrader, dressed as a giant banana, through the course with Zumba enthusiast, instructor, and “zookeeper,” Valerie D’Intino, bringing up the stragglers. The Mud Monkeys’ team was rounded out by Jill Flinchum, Rebecca Worrell, Jodi Worrell, Caitlin Worrell, Staci Childers, Kathy Scott, Tabatha Norman, Christine Ludwig, Kelly Cole, April Cole, Lori Newman, Anna Young and Patty Schrantz.
The 5k, or 3.1-mile course include up to 12 obstacles with names like “H2OMG,” “Get Over Yourself,” and “PMS (Pretty Muddy Stuff).” Although they were called obstacles, they wound up not being quite as intimidating as some of the Mud Monkeys anticipated.
“I was so nervous about a couple of the obstacles,” said D’Intino. “The cargo net climb was especially intimidating to me. It was so exciting when I realized I was up and over and down the other side without even thinking about it. The run taught me that we’re so much stronger than we realize. I like applying that lesson to the rest of my life. Girl power!”
An added incentive for the group to participate was that part of what they paid to get into the run went to a worthy cause – the fight to find a cure for cancer.
“It was a fantastic experience spending the day with my extended family, the Pulaski Mud Monkeys,” said Lori Newman. “Together, we conquered mud pits and challenging obstacles to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Who knew that PMS (Pretty Muddy Stuff) could be so exhilarating?”
After the event, the “monkeys” were muddy, but there was a bright smile on each face as they posed for post-run group photos. They completed what they had gone to do.
“Sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zone, and I think most of us did,” said Tabatha Norman. “But we had a great time spending time with our friends for such a great cause! For a while, we were able to forget about everything and just have fun.”