More than a thousand participants got their chance to “become one with the mud” Saturday morning at the Jomeokee Park and Campground for the sixth annual 5K Marine Mud Run in Pinnacle. Run spokesperson Doug “Major Mud” Coe estimated about 1,900 (counting teams and individuals) had registered. He said volunteers numbered more than 250, including fire department and emergency medical personnel.
The run is staged by Winston-Salem’s Marine Corps League Detachment #1075. This year’s preliminary numbers indicated a slight decrease in participation. Coe pointed out the charity run had some tough competition with a lot going on in the area including Forsyth County Schools’ commencement. He said the run hasn’t changed much since its inception, but organizers do their best to improve and add at least one new obstacle a year.
“This year’s new obstacle was a slip and slide,” said Coe. “It’s around 50 feet long and made of vinyl which we sprayed with soap and water. Everybody loved it. They kept right on going when they hit the grass at the bottom. We had a lot of repeat customers on the slide.”
Coe said all net proceeds from the run go to area charities. One popular charity for the detachment is Wounded Warrior Battalion East (WWBE). He explained that WWBE — not to be confused with the Wounded Warrior Project — was established at the Marine Corps base Camp Lejune in Jacksonville to house wounded soldiers and offers them spiritual, physical and vocational rehabilitation opportunities.
“The new building was opened about two years ago. They went all out. They’re really treating the guys well,” Coe said. “I’m a physical therapist and I’d love to have some of the equipment they have. The WWBE is top notch. It is an awesome place.”
He pointed out Wounded Warrior Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Leland Suttee and his staffers ran in the race this year and last year. Their participation is in recognition for the run’s support through its fundraising.
Information from Coe indicates the run has contributed $66,000 in five years to WWBE with hopes to add another $40,000 this year. The detachment is second in the state in its support of the Marine Toys For Tots program with Coe setting his sights on being number one next year.
The group also supports the “Veterans Helping Veterans Heal” program aimed at homeless military veterans, and portions of the net proceeds from the run also go to help social workers involved in Forsyth County Schools.
“We are all for the charities,” said Coe. “It’s not about us. We have always liked to focus on community and family.” He noted that the cost of the run has been kept low through local business sponsors so families on tight budgets could have every member participate. Coe praised the support of Pepsi, Hanes Brands, Chick-fil-A, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Hauser Rental.
The low entry fee allows young adults like Tyler Lungrin, a recent North Stokes graduate to participate for the first time. Lungrin said he chose to run after hearing about it from his recruiter.
The teen is slated to leave in early July for Parris Island, South Carolina to join the Marines.
“It was very challenging but also fun at the same time,” he said. “As soon as the mud got on my shoes my legs were tired, but there were Marines there that motivated me to keep going.”
Lungrin decided last summer to join the infantry and follow in the footsteps of his grandfather who fought in World War II.
“The race made me realize that this won’t be easy. Going through the obstacle courses and the Marines yelling the whole time really motivated me and now I’m as ready as ever to leave out for Parris Island.”