PELHAM BAY, N.Y. – The Merrell Down & Dirty National Mud and Obstacle Series will visit the Pelham and New Rochelle area Sunday for a day in the mud at nearby Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx.
The 5- and 10-kilometer obstacle races are a test of speed and endurance through Pelham Bay Park at Orchard Beach.
Down & Dirty veteran Jay Diaz, a native of the Bronx, includes his friends and family in the Mud Run and uses the event to raise money for Wounded Warriors to aid veterans.
"Last year we started looking for more challenging events and found the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run," Diaz said. "I did some research with all the different varieties of mud runs out there and found Merrell to be the best suitable for my family."
So, Diaz gathered more than 50 family members and friends to join in the 2011 Merrell Mud Run to help raise funds for Wounded Warriors.
"It was awesome," Diaz said. "My 9-year-old daughter means the world to me. I felt comfortable enough to allow her to do the 1-mile Adventure Kids Challenge by herself. Nothing but smiles and friendly people running, volunteering and working the event. It was a great experience."
The 5K and 10K courses start fast, with runners flying down the Orchard Beach boardwalk with the ocean by their side. The course opens up as runners turn back toward the main event site.
The main challenge on the course begins when runners head into the thick woods of Hunter Island and Orchard Beach Lagoon over walking bridges emerging from the woods for a water crossing through the Atlantic Ocean before heading back to the main event site for a dip in the mud to the finish.
"The most rewarding part, besides the exercise, for me, is the Wounded Warrior Project," Diaz said. "My team and I are suckers for charities. Helping people in need is why my team keeps growing every day."
The event will also include an Adventure Kids race for children ages 4-6 and 7-13 and features a race fitted for young people, ending in a giant mud pit.
The race will be followed by an awards ceremony and an Expo & Burger Bash.