ZELIENOPLE — On Saturday parents at the Zelienople Community Park had no problem letting their children play in the mud.
Adults were doing so too.
It was the inaugural Zelienople Mud Challenge, a race through the park filled with obstacles ranging from mud pits to haystacks.
More than 180 people in the event raised money for the park to finish its summer projects, particularly renovating the basketball court.
“We thought it would be a good family event,” said Alecia Flood, the borough parks and recreation director.
Flood said the course was a good way for people to see the park.
“It’s a good way to bring people to the community and see what we have to offer,” she said.
The 1½-mile course was designed for families to participate, Flood said. Runners had the option of running either one or two laps.
“There are so many tough mud challenges around, but they are only for adults,” she said. “We wanted to do something for the kids as well.”
For Peter and Christin Strumm of Harmony the event was a great opportunity for their daughters to see a park close to their hearts.
“We actually used to live right over the hill,” Christin Strumm said. “It’s where we got engaged.”
Peter Strumm said it was great to support the efforts of the park.
“We love to support the park and do these things,” he said. “The board did a great job putting this on, and it really brings the community together.”
Their older daughter, Sophie, 9, said her favorite part of the race was a slip-and-slide set up along a hill.
“It was super fun,” she said.
Her younger sister, Anna, 5, was a little more skeptical.
“There was too much mud,” she said. “Look at my pants.”
But mud was not an issue for the daughter of Kevin Daily and Christina Rawls of Zelienople.
Their daughter, Ava, 7, was covered head to toe in mud after the race.
“I didn’t care about winning or anything,” she said. “I just wanted to play in the mud.”
The family completed the course, though Ava has bigger plans if the event is held next year.
“I think we should do three miles next year,” she said.
While children had a blast in the mud, the race also allowed adults to show some youthful enthusiasm.
Stephanie McCreary was in a group of four Grove City women and a daughter wearing tutus through the course.
“We do all our mud runs in tutus,” she joked.
McCreary said she was impressed with her first visit to the park.
“It’s beautiful,” she said. “And they had a nice course set up.
Bridget Casteel and her daughter Carly, 11, raced alongside McCreary.
“It was awesome,” she said of the race. “And all the organizers were so friendly.”
Carly was excited to join the experienced group of tutu-wearing runners for the first time.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I liked the mud because I could make ‘mud angels.’”
With a successful turnout and a great reception, Flood said she and other organizers hope to host the event again next year.
“Oh absolutely we want to do it again,” she said.