Local charity ‘plays dirty’ with their annual Mud Run

By: Mike DeWitt



The new millennium ushered in a stark rise in the use of technology with the internet, cell phones, and social media allowing us to know the intricate details of each others lives. However, the new millennium also brought us another unforeseen phenomenon, obstacle course racing (OCR).


Be it a Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, or a BattleFrog, these obstacle courses have latched onto the fitness phenomenon sweeping the country. These races can be done individually or in teams and include fitness (obviously), usually their fair share of mud and grime, and obstacles to make your workout feel fun and exciting.


Grand Rapids Mud RunFor the Grand Rapids Mud Run, the excitement and popularity of an OCR is harnessed into an act of charity. The race is an extreme 5K mud run to raise money for a worthy cause. This year, the benefits will help Never The Same, a local faith-based non-profit focused on peer-to-peer youth ministry that organizes the Grand Rapids Mud Run, as they change locations due to a fire last year.


In June 2015, a devastating fire hit the Never The Same headquarters at Eastern and 44th Street in Grand Rapids. The headquarters have since been moved to a new location at 2725 29th Street. Staff moved into the office late last year, just in time to begin preparing for its largest annual fundraiser.


“We were not going to be discouraged,” says Jeff Eckart, CEO and Founder, Never the Same. “We actually became even more motivated to continue our cause, move forward in a new, permanent space and create an even more exciting Grand Rapids Mud Run in 2016.”


Back in 2009, Jeff Eckart came up with the idea for the mud run. Since the first run on August 28, 2010, the Grand Rapids Mud Run has seen a steady increase in participation. Over 1,000 participants are expected to run the brand new course, filled with mud pits, a 60-foot mudslide, tunnel crawls, walls, and slippery hill climbs. With spectators, over 3,000 are expected to attend this year.


The 2016 Grand Rapids Mud Run will be held on August 27 at 1200 60th Street in Kentwood, next to Celebration Cinemas South. Both adults and kids are able to participate. For more information, visit GrandRapidsMudRun.com.