This year’s ABF Mud Run wasn’t the typical fundraiser, with baskets full of goodies up for auction. Instead, there were cheering teammates and a lot of mud and ice baths. Competitors faced these and other obstacles to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“We are working with ‘Restore The Shore Projects’ and ‘Wish Upon A Hero,’” said Chad Mason, owner of Above and Beyond Fitness, who is a personal trainer and nutritionist. “We chose to stick with Wish Upon A Hero for our October event because of all their hard work and assistance.”
According to Mason, the event brought in $5,000.
Once a year, the Medford-based Above and Beyond Fitness organizes a mud run at Camp Ockanickon. And each year, approximately 1,200 participants sign up.
This year, however, Mason made the decision to add a run, this time in Pemberton, to benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“Two days after our Oct. 27 mud run, Hurricane Sandy hit our area,” Mason said. “One week after the devastation, our staff met up and decided we had to do something to help rebuild our community. We created a new course at a new location from scratch, spending every weekend since February building this new course and obstacles.”
Mason worked with Mimlitsch Enterprises of Evesham to get the course done in time. According to Mason, eight people spent six months building and designing the Pemberton course. Mimlitsch Enterprises donated the construction, equipment and staff.
“For the last two weeks, we had two shifts working on the course. Mimlitsch would send their employees out there during the day, and the ABF staff would come to the course after their normal jobs each night,” Mason said.
According to Mason, there are no monetary sponsorships to hold the events. ABF created the ABF Mud Run Training Camp to raise money to pay for the mud run expenses.
“Without the help of Glenn and Sue Mimlitsch, we would never have been able to finish this event. They donated the dump trucks, backhoes, excavators and laborers to help us for months leading up to the event,” Mason said. “He believes in our pay it forward program and wanted to help rebuild the community.”
According to Mason, the Mimlitschs’ daughter’s home in Ocean City was destroyed by the storm.
“Helping us was his way of paying it forward. There are not too many people around that would step up and help a charity event like they have,” Mason said.
Mason’s heart is close to the Shore as well. He spends his summers in Long Beach Island.
“We keep our boat docked down at LBI. I have been visiting LBI for the last 39 years of my life,” Mason said. “I have taken my kids to LBI every summer since they were born.”
For Mason, the most rewarding part of the experience is the reactions of the mud runners.
“I spent two hours up at the ice dumpster helping get everyone through the obstacle,” Mason said. “Seeing their faces light up as they crossed the finish line made it worth the last six months of work building the course.”
Mud runs are different from the typical 5k, half marathon or triathlon.
According to Mason, mud runs are about stepping out of your comfort zone and working as a team to complete a task. Athletes have the ability to register as an individual or as a team.
“Regardless, you will build bonds with other mudders that help you along the course,” Mason said. “We want to show people a sense of accomplishment maybe they haven’t felt in awhile.”
For more information on Above and Beyond Fitness, visit www.abfmudrun.com.
To learn more about Restore the Shore Projects, visit www.facebook.com/restoretheshoreprojects.