Camp Ockanickon to host mud run for charity

By Sean Patrick Murphy

Want some fun in the mud and contribute to a good cause at the same time?

Then the mud run at Camp Ockanickon is for you!

The Above and Beyond Fitness 10K Mud Run is set for November 5 starting at 8 a.m. The run will be held on the Camp Ockanickon grounds and feature 6.4 miles of trails.

There will be six water obstacles that are sure to challenge any runner. There will be a total of 24 obstacles ranging from crawling through small tunnels to scaling over 10 foot walls.

Participants will also get to crawl through 100 feet of mud in some obstacles.

“The great thing about these obstacles is that they’ll challenge people’s endurance, speed, strength, and balance,” mud run organizer Chad Mason said. “That’s the main mantra at Above and Beyond Fitness, and the ABF 10K Mud Run will address each and every one of those components.”

Half of all proceeds will go to the Strong Kids Foundation.

Above and Beyond Fitness will be holding two events each year for the next three years. The goal is to have the second run sometime in April of next year.

Mason is a cross fitness boot camp instructor, and he has taken some of the lessons that were taught to him years ago in the Marines and uses them to help participants in both the ABF 10K Mud Run and in his classes.

Above and Beyond Fitness has been holding events for the last two years under that name. Prior to that, the training sessions were called Jarhead’s Boot Camp for one year. Three years before that, the organization was known as Cyclone Riders. The motivation for creating Above and Beyond Fitness was largely based on Mason’s experience with charities in the past. He and his two daughters have been to over 32 charity events in the surrounding area.

Mason started Above and Beyond Fitness as a charity foundation, initially hosting the 24-hour Relay for Life in Medford. He then helped with “The Littlest Miss Rose Pageant” at Johnson’s Farm, along with several other events he has been a part of for the past few years. After years of working closely with the people at Camp Ockanickon, it became clear that developing a partnership with them would make the community a better place to live.

The Strong Kids Foundation is a proud collaborator with Camp Ockanickon. Funds from the foundation go toward helping with the development of before- and after-school programs where the kids can go to learn new things and make new friends.

“The Strong Kids Foundation is a wonderful program that really does great things for children and adolescents in the area,” Mason said. “When kids get bored, they can get themselves into trouble or bad habits.

“Foundations like this help keep kids engaged. They can be healthy and active, and do good things in the community,” he added. “Best of all, they can make new friends and strengthen the relationships they have with others.”

Mason said he and the people at Camp Ockanickon have had a great working relationship for three years. The camp and its staff have created a family-like atmosphere that has supported Mason’s ideas for getting the community more involved with the beautiful grounds of the camp. Joe Elliott, the camp’s director, has been directly involved every step of the way with the development of the ABF 10K Mud Run.

Mason and fellow organizer Keith D’Oria said they hope to attract as many as 1,000 people to the mud run.

“As we’ve begun developing the course for the ABF 10K Mud Run, we’ve actually opened up trails at Camp Ockanickon that were essentially destroyed from major floods that hit the area back around 2006,” Mason said. “In these tough economic times, it’s hard for camps like Camp Ockanickon to maintain the manpower or equipment that’s needed to maintain their beautiful trails.”

He said getting the word out about the mud run is the most challenging part of putting it together, while themost rewarding part of it is building something almost everyone can use.

A mud run is an event in which participants run a course that is purposefully filled with mud. The course features obstacles that break up the monotony of typical road running events.

In regular running events, participants run against the clock. In mud runs, the main purpose is to finish the course rather than beat the clock.

The obstacles are designed to get other runners involved, too. In fact, it is highly encouraged that people sign up with family and/or friends as a team.

The idea is to develop a camaraderie with your fellow runners so that you conquer the challenges as they arise.

There is a registration fee. In order to register, participants must go to http://www.active.com/running/medford-nj/abf-10k-mud-run-2011. Or, for a simpler approach, the aforementioned website address is linked to our ABF 10K Mud Run page at www.abfmudrun.com. Active.com serves as a Ticket Master for outdoor events like the ABF 10K Mud Run.

Early registration lasts until August 31 and is $40. Registration increases to $50 by September 30, and $60 by October 31. People wishing to run may also purchase Race Day tickets the day of the event for $65.

Spectators can watch the run from different areas on the course for $5 each. The ABF 10K Mud Run will also offer a kids course that is 1 mile for free with a paid adult entry.