Playing in the Mud … for a Good Cause!

Story by 1LT Joshua Witt, 1st Battalion 149 Infantry Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative

Mud Run 1

Members of 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, Pfc. Chris Jones, Capt. Jason Mendez and 123rd Air Wing Airguardsman Cameron Witt complete one of the obstacles during the Kentucky National Guard, WUKY FM Public Radio and UK ROTC Mud Run at Commonwealth Stadium, University of Kentucky, in Lexington, Ky. Sept. 21, 2013 (Photo by 1st Lt. Josh Witt, 1st Battalion 149th Infantry Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative)

Lexington, Ky. – Cool autumn rain and an overcast sky created the appropriate ambiance for the inaugural Bluegrass Mud Run.  The event was held on the University of Kentucky campus at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, September 21.

Click here to see all the photos from this story.

Coordinated by WUKY Public Radio and UK’s ROTC program, and supported with sponsorship by numerous area businesses, the mud run served as a successful fundraiser for the non-profit organizations.

Military-style and football related challenges were interspersed throughout the 3.2 mile race course.  Participants endured daunting obstacles such as ice water plunges, rope climbs, and low crawls through thick mud.  The path of the run went throughout the upper and lower levels of the stadium before directing participants through a winding mud covered cross country trail.  Weary participants and wide-eyed spectators gathered en masse near the finish line to cheer on mud runners as they completed their journey.  While drinks and snacks were available in abundance, the “fire hose shower” was clearly the most welcome form of respite for mud encrusted runners.

Three teams participated from the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion 149 Infantry in Barbourville, Ky. The infantry battalion teams were sponsored by the National Infantry Association Long Rifle Chapter.

They gathered together in strong support of their leader and friend, Battalion Commander, Maj. Jeff Cole who was diagnosed with cancer in May.

Mud Run 4

Members of 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, Pfc. Chris Jones, Capt. Jason Mendez and 123rd Air Wing Airguardsman Cameron Witt complete one of the obstacles during the Kentucky National Guard, WUKY FM Public Radio and UK ROTC Mud Run at Commonwealth Stadium, University of Kentucky, in Lexington, Ky. Sept. 21, 2013 (Photo by 1st Lt. Josh Witt, 1st Battalion 149th Infantry Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative)

He is currently pursuing a new cancer treatment in Texas.

The NIA teams took first, second, and fourth place in the overall team standings for the Bluegrass Mud Run.  A Golden Boot award will be given to the winning team next week.

“It signifies the bounty for our efforts!” said Capt. Robert Andersen, administrative officer for the battalion and Team 1 member.

Additionally, the winning team garnered a $1,000 donation made toward the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund (www.guardmemorial.com).

Battalion Executive Officer Maj. Al Snyder stated, “These types of events are how we build unit loyalty, cohesion, friendships, and toughness.”

Each team member wore specially designed technical T-shirts emblazoned with “MW6” in honor of Maj. Cole – Mountain Warrior Six.

“The design inspiration was taken from Major Cole’s ‘Mistaken Identity’ blog,” said Battalion Training Officer Capt. Jason Mendez.

Since first being diagnosed with cancer Cole has maintained an online journal with regular updates on his medical care and personal testaments in the midst of trials and tribulations.

All infantrymen from the Long Rifle Chapter proudly donned their “MW6” shirts during the Bluegrass Mud Run.  They are confident that their commander was with them in spirit and hold to faith that he will be with them at next year’s event.

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