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5K run, obstacle course to get Ohio women pretty muddy

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Attendees participate in the Pretty Muddy run. The event is scheduled to take place at Mad River Mountain Sept. 14. Credit: Courtesy of Facebook

Attendees participate in the Pretty Muddy run in Chicago. The event is scheduled to take place at Mad River Mountain Sept. 14.
Credit: Courtesy of Facebook

Ladies, leave the high heels home and get ready to get dirty because the Pretty Muddy women’s run is coming to Ohio.

The Pretty Muddy is a women’s only 5K run through an obstacle course.

The run is similar to the Tough Mudder as it leads female participants through an obstacle course containing challenges such as crawling through a pool of mud and running across an inflated bridge filled with foam.

Despite the similarities the event shares with Tough Mudder and other obstacle course races, the Pretty Muddy run puts an emphasis on having fun and promoting women’s involvement in athletics rather than competition. Participants are allowed to skip any obstacles they don’t want to do, and there are no physical standards a runner has to meet before entering the event.

“It’s not timed, so there is no medal for the first person that comes in,” said Jennifer Dirks, the public relations coordinator for the event. “They’re really encouraging women of all shapes and sizes and all ages to participate.”

Pretty Muddy launched in 2012 with the intention of giving women an outlet to compete in a fun athletic event made for them,

“As mud runs got more popular, I thought, ‘Why not make one just for women?’” said Kevin Scharnek, president and founder of the Pretty Muddy company that puts on the event. “It really took on a life of its own from there.”

Scharnek said part of the reason he started Pretty Muddy was to give his wife an athletic event to do with just other women.

“There aren’t a lot of things women can do with just women,” Scharnek said. “Our event is about hanging out with girlfriends, empowerment and trying something you wouldn’t normally do.”

One change from the Pretty Muddy event in central Ohio last year is allowing the runners’ children to participate in a separate run through some of the obstacles.

Scharnek said this idea came from listening to feedback from racers and after seeing what “a blast” the kids had in the last Pretty Muddy event in Chicago. It was decided to continue the trend in central Ohio.

Marathon runner and blogger Heather Mursch will be competing in this year’s “Pretty Muddy” event and has some advice for other women.

“Don’t take it too serious, have a good time and wear gloves,” said Mursch, who has also competed in the Tough Mudder run and Warrior Dash events, both obstacle races.

The Pretty Muddy run is scheduled for Saturday at Mad River Mountain and the first runners are slated to start at 8 a.m. Registration is still available on the Pretty Muddy website.

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