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Mud Run set for Sunday at Folsom Lake

By: Brett Ransford Telegraph Correspondent
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The Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run returns to the Granite Bay beaches of Folsom Lake this Sunday and brings with it thousands of participants. On Nov. 3 last year the run featured more than 4,000 participants and raised more than $30,000 for Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization which sends 100,000 care packages to individually named U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions. This year’s event again includes the elaborate Halloween costume contest on Sunday morning, the 5K race with more obstacles than last year, the 10K race, which features a new 10-foot tall climbing wall and the Adventure Kids 100-yard dash. New to the 2011 Mud Run is the Night Mud Run on Saturday at 7 p.m. The 5K run is what race officials are calling one of the world’s largest night runs. Racers are required to wear headlamps. The military-style obstacles take racers through commanding cargo climbs, water crossings and of course, lots of mud. Military personnel, public safety officers and academy trainees will also be there racing and supporting Operation Gratitude. According to Michael Epstein, owner of Michael Epstein Sports Productions, the 2011 Sacramento Mud Run has already exceeded expectations. Epstein said the goal was to raise $50,000 this year, but more than 5,000 registered racers have already raised close to $55,000 toward this weekend’s event. “We feel like we’ve created an event which is relatively extreme and a high-energy event with a pretty amazing family atmosphere. People are able to realize their fitness goals, support a cause and have fun with their families and friends,” said Epstein. The Sacramento Mud Run, which takes place in Granite Bay on the trails and shores of Folsom Lake, has one of the largest turnouts for any event Epstein organizes. “It’s one of our biggest events of the year. It’s bigger than Los Angeles and it’s bigger than New York,” said Epstein. Participants from all over Northern California and surrounding areas flock to Folsom Lake for Northern California’s largest mud run and now, the largest night run. Following the night run is a barbecue Burger Bash and awards ceremony. Sunday’s events begin with packet-pick up at 6:30 a.m. and the costume contest follows at 8 a.m. on the grand stage set up on Granite Beach. The 9:30 a.m. wave of the 5K is already sold out, but there is also an 8:30 a.m. 5K start and the 10K begins at 10:30 a.m. The Adventure Kids race starts at 12 p.m. There will be another Burger Bash on Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m. For registration or more information visit www.downanddirtymudrun.com Registration costs $75. Parking Parking at Folsom Lake will be $10 per car. This fee will be charged at the gate upon entrance to the park. Participants are encouraged to carpool and arrive early to allow time to park. Racers should bring a towel. There will be water stations for all racers to rinse off after the race.