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Oklahoma State University

800+ Youth Complete Mud Run

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stillwater, Okla.— On September 26 and 27, more than 800 participants between the ages of 6 and 16, both in teams and as individuals, climbed, hopped, crawled, and slithered their way through a 15-obstacle mud run at Lake McMurtry. Mud University (Mud U) with the slogan “Fun in the First Degree” was specifically developed to provide children and youth the opportunity to experience a fun mud run in a safe and age-appropriate manner.

Dr. Tim Baghurst, an assistant professor of Health and Human Performance at Oklahoma State University, developed Mud U after drawing inspiration from his own son’s desire to participate in similar adult events; however, there were no events available specifically for kids. Baghurst also saw Mud U as an opportunity to combine his expertise in health and exercise with the personal goal of promoting physical activity among youth.

“It was a great experience for kids and adults alike,” Baghurst said. “We allow participants to complete the course without the aid of parents, which helps to develop their teamwork and self-confidence. It is so exciting to see kids being physically active and having fun at the same time. Sometimes the fun factor is lost in sports and exercise programs so we’re trying to remind kids and adults alike that physical exercise can be fun.”  

Mud U had representation statewide and beyond, with participants traveling as far as Kansas City, Kan., to participate. Although participants could complete the course as individuals, most registered as teams and created unique names and costumes based on their school, sports team, or something more creative. Christy Shuman of Stillwater had three sons (12, 10, & 6) participate as part of the Mud Mateys team.

“I signed them up as a fun first-time experience in the spring, and they kept begging to do it again,” Shuman said. “I think it helps them gain self-confidence. They get to try new adventures on their own and work through challenges themselves without mom and dad giving them step-by-step instructions. The kids loved it!”

This event saw an increase of almost 300 participants from the inaugural Mud U in the spring and discussions are ongoing about the possibility of offering it again.

“We take each event as it comes,” Baghurst said. “After we have sent out our evaluation surveys to partners, parents, and volunteers we’ll discuss if we should offer another event, and if so, when and how we can improve it.”

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