GREENVILLE – If you didn’t get muddy at Chenoweth Trails on Saturday then you didn’t do it right.
The sixth annual Gauntlet Mud Run 5k event was likely one of the slickest and sloppiest ever after Mother Nature decided to add to the challenging obstacle course with some rain overnight Friday. It made the trails harder to get traction and the obstacles were more challenging to get over, under or through.
“The man upstairs gave us a little bonus this year,” said Brian Rehmert, one of the creators of The Gauntlet along with Matt Light of The Light Foundation. “The added water made some of the creeks a little deeper than normal and a little harder to run through. It also made some of the trails a bit slicker and that made it difficult to run because there was no good traction anywhere whether you were on a trail or not.
“Normally this race is won in about 24-26 minutes,” he continued. “Today I believe it was about 30 minutes. We made some changes to the course, but it is still pretty much the same course as last year. What we changed didn’t add four minutes to the time. The slick trails and added water is what did that.”
In fact, the race was won in 28 minutes, 40.6 seconds by Shawn Stein of St. Henry. He was followed in the overall finish list by runner-up Cole Mertz in 28:52.8. Only five runners total broke the 30-minute mark. Third place was John Mobly (29:41.7), Dylan Barnes (29:47.1) was fourth overall and the last runner to break 30 minutes was Connor Super (29:56.3) in fifth place overall.
The top female winner was Mandy Tegtmeyer, who completed the race in 33:20.1. She finished in 15th place overall.
“It was muddy,” Tegtmeyer said. “Muddy and a little bit cold. I got beat up a bit too, but it was really fun. I ran it one other time two years ago and I thought this time it was harder.”
She came back this year to run for her brother Josh (Urlage) who wanted to participate, but had another commitment.
“I am a road racer,” Tegtmeyer said. “I do half marathons and marathons. I don’t do these kinds of things, but it was a good time. It was something different for sure.
“The peg board was the toughest thing for me,” she continued. “You had to go up and over it and it was really, really slippery. I fell once. It was hard. That and a lot of running in the creek, but I will absolutely do it again.”
Nikki Pearson, a first-time participant, said she would do it again as well.
“It was great to run in this,” said Pearson, who signed up this year to run with some of her friends. “They were running so I said OK I’ll give it a try. It took a lot more endurance than I thought. I run 5ks all the time, but with the obstacle course and rope swing and the monkey bars, that made it tough but I got through it.”
The Gauntlet began six years ago as a fundraiser for The Light Foundation in conjunction with the Greenville National Guard post, according to Rehmert. But due to other obligations and training, the National Guard had to get out of it. Rehmert said The Light Foundation took it over as its own fundraiser, but continued with the military-inspired obstacles.
“It is still The Gauntlet and we are still running with it,” Rehmert said. “It was a fundraiser to support them and us at the same time. They were all of the course volunteers and we did all of the event stuff.
“It was a great partnership in the beginning,” he continued. “Now we pull so many other groups in to volunteer like the Dylan Williams Foundation, Arcanum Athletics, Greenville Wrestling, Mississinawa Valley Athletic Boosters and the Mississinawa Valley baseball team, so there are a lot more people benefiting from The Gauntlet than just The Light Foundation.”
That list of beneficiaries also includes the Darke County YMCA, Careers with Children from Greenville Schools, Purple Passion, Knights of Columbus and all of The Light Foundation friends and family.
“The unique thing about the Gauntlet is we are not only raising money for The Light Foundation but the groups that come and help us we give them a donation,” said April Brubaker of The Light Foundation. “It’s about $5,000 that we give back to the organization in the community that come help us put this on. We want to spread it out because it’s not just about how much money we raise, it’s about getting people in the community out here to see Chenoweth Trails for the day.”
With nearly 700 runners and 200 volunteers as well as spectators, there was approximately 1,000 people at the 400-plus acre facility on Saturday.
“We had 653 pre-registered runners and about 40 on the day of,” Brubaker said. “This year we are missing Matt (Light) however. He and his family are usually here and hate that they are missing this because they do love being here for this.”
Brubaker said to ensure the Light Family will be able to attend next year the event will be moving to a new date – July 20 – in 2019.
“This is year six and it is probably our best course ever,” Rehmert said. “Hopefully the people like it and give us good feedback so we can keep catering to them and make it what they want. It’s never going to be easy, but I think it is only going to get better.”
The Daily Advocate sports editor Skip Weaver can be reached at (937) 569-4316 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @skipweaver65.