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mud run

Maricopa Mud Run 2018 wound up Saturday with families enjoying warm, sunny rounds through the obstacles, unlike the early rounds in October that became so drenched in rain the rest of the annual event had to be postponed. Around 700 people registered this year in all rounds, with some finishers returning to compete again in Round 2. Those who beat the time set by Mayor Christian Price received medals. The Mud Run is a city-created event.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

In a drizzle that turned into a lengthy downpour, Maricopa Mud Run got in two rounds, including the competitive race that saw Steve Campbell winning for the second straight year and Shell Abbott leading the women’s division.

Competitors who signed up for later rounds have the option of returning to the course Nov. 3, race organizer Matthew Reiter said.

While the obstacles at Copper Sky were built to be challenging, the weather conditions made the mud around the obstacles dangerously slick.

The first round with the top competitors had the best weather of the day, allowing Campbell to repeat last year’s feat. H said he runs the race to be part of the community. A teacher at Leading Edge Academy, Campbell moved to last year just before the Mud Run.

“It’s just meeting people and getting to know them,” he said. “These kids have come in second, and we’ve become good friends.”

This story has been updated to reflect a new date for the remainder of the Mud Run.







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Winners of the Maricopa Mud Run were Steve Campbell and Chet Carroll, presented the belt by Miss City of Maricopa Aundria Littlejohn. Photo by Michelle Chance

The City of Maricopa announced the winners of the Mud Run, which was Saturday at Copper Sky. The top finishers were fitness coach Steve Campbell and high school runner Chet Carroll. Campbell let Chet have the championship belt, but the city ordered Campbell a duplicate belt, “for his true teamwork,” Copper Sky Fitness Director Matthew Rieter said. See more photos at http://www.inmaricopa.com/adventures-at-maricopa-mud-run-2017-gallery/

Overall Men’s : Chet Carroll and Steve Campbell

Overall Woman’s: Sarah Zabawa

12-17 Boys:
1st Chet Carroll
2nd Kia Carroll
3rd James French

12-17 Girls:
Madison Tyler
Haily Shoaf

18-30 Men:
1st Kevin Donavan
2nd Steven Schouten
3rd Tristan Perkins

18-30 Women:
1st Sarah Zabawa
2nd Shell Abbott
3rd Tiana Row

31-45 Men:
1st Steve Campbell
2nd Zac Matalavo
3rd Russ Byers

31-45 Women:
1st Kristen McFarland

46-55 Men:
1st Myron Begay
2nd Pete Ullinger

46-55 Women:
1st Toiyan Littlejohn
2nd Susan Perkins

56+ Men:
1st Pete Masiel

Look for photos of yourself in the Mud Run (and check out a chance to buy hi-rez digital file) at http://www.inmaricopa.com/2017-maricopa-mud-run-photos/

Photo by Michelle Chance

The 2017 version of Maricopa Mud Run drew hundreds of runners in multiple heats on Saturday at Copper Sky Regional Park. The fifth annual event sported a new course with new challenges along with the old favorites like the zipline. First finishers were Maricopa High School cross country runner Chet Carroll and fitness trainer Stephen Campbell. Winners of all categories received trophies and a chance to be photographed with Miss City of Maricopa Auna Littlejohn, Miss Pinal County Lindsay Hubbard, Miss City of Maricopa Outstanding Teen Mackenzie Ford and Miss Pinal County Outstanding Teen Terese Sanchez.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Saturday morning, after Ak-Chin Indian Community members of all ages tried their hand at it, Mayor Christian Price teamed with Maricopa Police Department Cmdr. Jim Hughes in a light-hearted challenge against local cyclist/runner Pete Masiel and Copper Sky Fitness Coordinator Matthew Reiter to preview the course a week ahead of the Maricopa Mud Run, which is set for Oct. 28. Price was also setting a time standard for the upcoming competition.

Pete Masiel prepares for an early-morning run inn Rancho El Dorado, a route he created last year to prepare for this year's Mud Run. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Pete Masiel is a “no-excuses” guy.

He’s 58 years old with rods in his back. He’s an ultra-cyclist, known to peddle 100 miles a day. He is fit and athletic.

Last year, he ran the Maricopa Mud Run for the first time. It was a rude awakening, thanks to Mayor Christian Price.

Price has created the “Mayor’s Challenge,” giving prizes to everyone who beats his time on the course.

“I thought it was really cool,” Masiel said. “When I heard about the Mayor’s Challenge, I figured, ‘OK, that will be pretty simple.’

“He kicked my pants off. It took me just under two hours to complete the course, something the mayor did in about 30 minutes,” he said.

For Masiel, the event became not a challenge for a day but a challenge for the whole year.

“I said, ‘OK, I’m gonna get you next year,” Masiel said.

Masiel recognized despite his endurance riding, he had not been a runner in a long time. He worked to change that. Over the succeeding year of training for the mud run, he became a marathoner and lost more than 25 pounds.

He started with the Veterans 5K last November. He walked the course. He tried the Santa Run 5K at Merry Copa and was able to jog the distance.

“It hurts my back, but it’s not killing me,” he said. “So, I decided to start running.”

By himself at Copper Sky, he ran his first 10K since the 1990s. He jogged through 14-minute miles. The effort caught up with him.

“I was so sore I could barely go up and down my stairs,” Masiel said.

Then friends invited him on a bike ride on South Mountain. Masiel forgot his cycling shoes. He was wearing his running shoes, however.

So, he ran the six miles to the towers and the six miles back. From that day, he started running regularly and is now part of the Maricopa Running Club.

He first ran a marathon-distance event on his own in April. In June, he ran in the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

“I’m able to run now, and I’m a pretty good contender,” he said. “I always say, ‘Don’t write a check your butt can’t cash.’”

He crossed paths with Price and his training partner Matthew Reiter at Copper Sky, all three men getting ready for the mud run.

“He called over to us, ‘Mayor, I want you to know you’re my inspiration,’” Reiter recalled. “And we thought, ‘What is he talking about? Pete’s the inspiration. He’s awesome!”

After his back surgery in the ‘90s and before he got involved in endurance cycling, Masiel carried 265 pounds on his 5-foot-8 frame and was on the verge of a heart attack or stroke. Doctors cautioned him about strenuous physical activity because of his back.

But he turned to cycling, “pushed through the pain,” and got back in shape. He shed 30 pounds and then another 30. His running weight now is 185-190.

“I haven’t talked to my doctors about anything in years,” Masiel said.

A year after his humbling experience with the Maricopa Mud Run, he feels ready to take on the challenge anew.

“Tell me I can’t do something, I’ll find a way to do it.”

This story appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Anita McLeod

It’s that time of the year again, when Maricopans get dressed up, act goofy and mingle with the community. No, not Halloween. It’s the Maricopa Mud Run.

What: Maricopa Mud Run
When: Oct. 28, 7 a.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 44345 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
How Much: $25 to $45
Info: maricopa-az.gov/web/mud-run

This year the run comes with a few changes that should have everyone’s inner-child running wild.

The first, and arguably the most important, change is the theme. This year, all challengers are being asked to “awaken your inner hero” by dressing up as their favorite superhero.

A contest will be hosted prior to the run. The best dressed team or individual will walk away with event swag, and adults and teenagers who finish the race in their costume earn a limited addition Mud Run Cape and T-shirt.

Kids who finish the Mini-Copa Mud Run will get “an awesome bag of treats.”

The course itself is undergoing changes, too, including new obstacles.

Mud Run organizer Matthew Reiter said the course is shorter, but participants will have to complete two filthy, inner-hero-awakening, zip-line gliding, ego-boosting laps. (Kids running the Mini-Copa Mud Run will complete one lap.) Competitors will also be grouped by age and sent off in heats to “help make things a little more evenly matched.”

Photo by Victor Moreno

Reiter also tweaked the Mayor’s Challenge: “This year we decided we want to see more teamwork and community in this event, so we made the Mayor’s Challenge a two-person team challenge.”

Any two-person team that beats the time set by Mayor Christian Price and his “highly motivated” mystery partner will win commemorative coins.

Parks Manager and Mud Run co-organizer Mike Riggs said the 20 or so obstacles will include a few new surprises this year, including obstructions dubbed “Chill-out” and “Plenty of Fish.”

This story appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.

Photo by Anita McLeod

Obstacles were many and varied during the 2016 Mud Run.

More than 1,000 people participated in the Maricopa Mud Run and its contests for younger competitors Oct. 22 at Copper Sky Regional Park. See video by Mason Callejas and photos by Anita McLeod below.

Mayor Christian Price (left) and Copper Sky's fitness coordinator Matthew Reiter lived through a test run of this year's Maricopa Mud Run Course. See the video below. Photo by Mason Callejas

The city of Maricopa’s Mike Riggs and Matthew Reiter explain the building of the Mud Run, and Mayor Christian Price sets the pace for Saturday’s big event at Copper Sky. Learn more here.


The Maricopa Mud Run will have some changes this year, including more ziplines.

When fences went up around the dirt parcel on the west side of Copper Sky Regional Park, it was a sure sign of pending, dirty excitement.

If You Go
What: Maricopa Mud Run
When: Oct. 22, 9 a.m.
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park
How much: $40 adults; $20 ages 12-17; $15 ages 4-11
Info: Maricopa-az.gov/web/Mud-Run

Yards of mud, complicated obstacles and zombies will take over the place for the fourth annual Maricopa Mud Run on Oct. 22, starting at 9 a.m.

“We’ve been working on this probably since this March,” said Matthew Reiter, City of Maricopa fitness coordinator. “I start six to eight months early. But then throughout the whole year we have tons of discussion on the plan of this.”

Reiter attends five to 10 mud runs a year from other organizations and takes photos and brings those ideas to Parks Manager Mike Riggs. Together, they and their staff start creating and organizing Maricopa’s run.

“[Riggs] likes building these things, and I like running them,” Reiter said. Having the expertise to create the course and land on which to build it has been a matter of great timing for the city, he added.

The parks crew started building the course in mid-September and will continue as they also work on other city projects they are also responsible for.

Last year's competitors leap over obstacles in the "clean" part of the run.
Last year’s competitors leap over obstacles in the “clean” part of the run.

“There will be one or two of us that will stay pretty steady,” Riggs said. The work is dependent on what equipment is available in other departments.

Because it is a city event, they do not need to subcontract or hire a course designer for $20,000. The city crews build the obstacles and save them for future runs. Riggs said they want to get seven to 10 years out of them. They build a couple new obstacles each year.

They also incorporated feedback from last year’s participants. That has brought about more zip lines, a kids’ run and a beer tent.

“This year with the zip lines we’re going to put people in the mud, so there’s a surprise,” Reiter said. “Last year you could cross the mud and land on dry ground. This year, no matter what happens, you’re going in.”

Park Manager Mike Riggs (left) and fitness coordinator Matthew Reiter show off the belts awaiting winners of the 2016 Mud Run.
Park Manager Mike Riggs (left) and fitness coordinator Matthew Reiter show off the belts awaiting winners of the 2016 Mud Run.

The kids’ run is a mini-version for ages 4 to 11.

“If you’re out here watching them and you see the faces and the smiles and the high fives that are happening with the people actually participating, it’s just unbelievable,” Riggs said. “Everybody has a great time. That’s the joy I get out of it, just watching everyone have a great time.”

Organizers have used lanes already set up for overflow parking from other events to use as mud-run lanes. Each lane has two or three obstacles to climb over, swing over or run through.

The National Honor Society from Maricopa High School will again get zombie-fied to add an extra challenge. Runners can get two flag-football flags to wear during the run. If they make it through the zombies with both flags intact, they win a prize.

Celebrity trainers will be on hand to lead the pre-race warm-up. The first part of the race is on dry ground, starting near the skate park. Reiter said runners will probably be sent off incrementally every 10 minutes to ease the pileups that occurred at the early obstacles.

“We’re trying to make it as challenging as we can and still make a fun family experience,” Riggs said.

The course is two miles, which is considered the “sweet spot” for mud runs. Anything longer is too much, anything shorter is not enough. Old clothes and especially old shoes are recommended.

The event will also have log-rolling, a kids’ play zone and food vendors. Participants get a T-shirt and dog tags.

“It’s really like a casual city event that’s fitness. So for people who’ve never done a run or done an obstacle course, maybe their guard’s a little more down because it’s a city event,” Reiter said. “I would be more apt to get off the couch and try it because I wouldn’t have that fear that I’m going to go in there and get wrecked.”

Mayor Christian Price has again thrown down the challenge to beat his time. The first 50 runners to finish faster than the mayor will receive a Mayor’s Achievement Coin. But be warned, Price has been training all year.

The parcel used for the mud part of the mud run is actually marked for commercial development. When that happens, Riggs said they will find a new location for the mud run or a new way to construct it.

As much fun as runners seem to have participating in the Maricopa Mud Run, the crews that make it are just as happy.

“The staff is 80 or 90 percent local. The pride they take in it knowing they’ve done it, the accomplishment once it’s done, is a real builder for this team,” Riggs said. “We consider it one of the huge team-builders that we do in the Community Services Department because everyone gets out and helps.”

This story appears in the October issue of InMaricopa.MUD-RUN2

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Students challenges staff in the Maricopa High School mud run during Homecoming Week. Photo by Adam Wolfe

The Maricopa High School staff challenged the student body in the Maricopa Mud Run course Thursday night.

The course was shorter than it will be for Saturday’s city-wide event, but that didn’t stop the competition from getting fierce.

The students outnumbered the staff by at least a dozen, but the larger number couldn’t stop cross country assistant coach Alec Fillmore from taking first overall. Fillmore was able to finish the two mile course in just over 22 minutes.

“I had some students call me out, so I had to come out and win,” Fillmore said.

The next few finishers would be students before a group of faculty members crossed together.

The top finishing students were awarded the inaugural “Mud King” and “Mud Queen” crowns, and each participant received a medal.