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Mud Run packs them in at Folsom Lake in Granite Bay

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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More than 4,600 racers flooded the Granite Bay shores of Folsom Lake on Sunday for the second Sacramento 2011 Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run. The event featured the first Night Mud Run on Saturday and 5K and 10K races along with the Adventure Kids one-mile run on Sunday morning. Michael Epstein Sports Productions, who sponsor the nine events of the Mud Run Series, raised more than $60,000 toward its beneficiary, Operation Gratitude, which sends individual care packages to United States military personnel overseas. Sacramento’s inaugural event last year brought more than 4,000 participants out, but on the eve of Halloween this year the final race of the Mud Run Series sold out before it even began. On Wednesday, Mud Run officials announced there were only 25 spots left for the Night Mud Run and the 5K and 10K races on Sunday were sold out. The record number of participants had already raised more money before the race, than last year’s events. “We love the Mud Run. At a certain point maybe you get too old to dress up for Halloween and go trick-or-treating, but you can’t get too old for crawling through mud,” said Zachary Bringer, 22, of Redding, who made the trip with several friends. Parker and a crowd of others gathered before the 8 a.m. 5K start on Sunday morning for the annual costume contest. Whether in the first or second 5K, the 10K start or the Adventure Kids race, racers could be seen crawling through mud, crossing water and climbing military-style obstacles before reaching the inevitable and now infamous Mud Run pit. “I haven’t participated in the actual Mud Run, no, but standing here nice and dry watching people get all muddy is a great way to spend a Sunday,” said Folsom resident Jackie Schabacker, who watched her daughters make their way through the mud. Michael Epstein, owner of MESP, said the Sacramento leg of the Mud Run Series brings out some of the largest crowds in any event his company runs all year. Close to 5,000 participants were present at the event. This year’s 5K races presented more obstacles and the 10K had a 10-foot climbing wall, which Bringer said was challenging, especially carrying the extra weight of a costume. “It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure,” he said. “But we came down because we love this event and there’s nothing else like it around.” Races ended mid-day after the Adventure Kids dash kicked off at noon, but participants stuck around for food, music and other festivities. Mitchell White, 19, of Granite Bay won the overall 5K and the 18-24 year-old division with a time of 29 minutes, 41 seconds. Kim Kemper, 23, of Roseville, had the best women’s 5K time with 33:53. Shelley Francesconi, 55, of Turlock, won the overall 10K with a time of 39:14. The men’s top 10K time was 48:37 by Skylohr Taylor, 25, of San Francisco. In the Adventure Kids race, Erick Iannaccone, 13 of Brentwood, won with a time of 11:57. In the 5K Night Mud Run, Katherine Krepsa, 30, of Cameron Park and Raven Roby, 32 of Placerville, tied for the best overall time with 23:01. Mark Faulkner, 51, of Napa, was the men’s overall best finisher with a time of 23:10. Individual results and division winners can be found at www.downanddirtymudrun.com/results.