Delaware Mud Run gets down and dirty for leukemia foundation

Participants in the 2014 Mud Run at Frightland in Middletown were covered in mud after the obstacle-laden 5K. (Submitted photo)

Participants in the 2014 Mud Run at Frightland in Middletown were covered in mud after the obstacle-laden 5K. (Submitted photo)

MIDDLETOWN –– Hundreds of athletes are preparing to get muddy from head to toe Sept. 20 for the seventh annual Delaware Mud Run to benefit the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware.

The event, founded in 2009, attracts hundreds of participants each year who want to be competitive, have fun or just support a worthy cause; but in many cases, all three.

“Some people train because it is a 5K with lots of obstacles, but really, it’s not about racing, it’s about having a great experience for a good cause,” said Denni Ferrara, founder and president of the Leukemia Research Foundation of Delaware (LRFDE).

She founded the LRFDE back in 2007 after her then-3-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. The organization has been staffed by volunteers since its founding and receives no federal funding. All financial support for the organization comes through events like the Mud Run and grants.

“Our co-director brought the idea of a mud run to our attention and we did some research and it seemed like a lot of fun and we had the perfect location for it,” Ms. Ferrara said.

That location is Frightland in Middletown, owned by the family of Ms. Ferrara’s husband, Nick. The family tie allows all proceeds from the event to go to LRFDE.

The run is a 5K in distance but along the way, participants will have to climb, jump and crawl through obstacles all on mud-covered ground.

“The team aspect means people start and finish together, helping one another along the way to finally complete the course,” Ms. Ferrara said. “And like a cancer diagnosis, finishing it can take a village.”

Although participants are guaranteed to get dirty, that doesn’t stop many from dressing up in elaborate costumes. There isn’t a theme to the Mud Run but many teams create their own.

In the past, teams have shown up as Minions from “Despicable Me,” the characters from “Scooby Doo,” Smurfs and the rock band KISS. Due to high costume participation, there is now an award for best costume.

Although many participants go into the Run as a team, individuals are welcome to come out as well. Departures on the course take place in waves starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 1:20 p.m. All individuals will go out in the first wave.

Registration for teams and individuals can be completed online at

Prizes will be awarded to the highest fundraisers, fastest male team, fastest female team and more.

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