Steamboat Springs resident Mel LeBlanc participates in the Steamboat Mad Mud Run on Saturday at Steamboat Ski Area.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs resident Mel LeBlanc participates in the Steamboat Mad Mud Run on Saturday at Steamboat Ski Area.

Jake Miller: Mad Mud Run race day camaraderie

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Jake Miller

— I had a set of goals for myself going into the elite heat of the Mad Mud Run on Saturday at Steamboat Ski Area. The first was to not get passed by anyone in the heat behind me. The second was to keep running until I was out of view of the crowd in Gondola Square.

Obviously, I was new to this running thing.

As someone who is getting used to the idea of conditioning as a competition, what I didn’t expect was the camaraderie that was involved. Hundreds of people were in a cheery, happy mood, shaking hands and laughing before the race.

I just assumed I was the only one who knew about the 3.1-mile running thing that was about to happen.

The crazy part was that everyone’s positive attitude persisted throughout each of the 16 obstacles in the race. It didn’t matter whether they were facing beer keg hurdles, tunnels, snow or a pyramid of recycled cardboard, no one lost the ability to smile.

Even through the infamous, knee-deep mud pits that left an unlucky few with scars and everyone with a ruined wardrobe, even staring at an intimidating mesh wall that made me second guess the security of what little bodily fluid I had left, everyone still was encouraging.

I credit them for helping me to finish the race. I figured if they could do this and keep positive, I definitely could get through it.

Thanks to the camaraderie, my ego was spared, as well, and I met my two goals like only someone who is brand new to the running scene could.

Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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