GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - One thousand runners laced up their shoes to run through mud for a good cause. Saturday the Seabee Base held its 15th Annual Seabee Mud Run. Officials said the five mile fundraiser was a success, bringing in more runners and money than ever before.
When the horn sounded, the sea of Seabee supporters raced to their first obstacle of the day, a pit full of mud.
Helen Wildner said, "I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I thought it was a little run, a little mud, and we were waist deep trudging through the mud and the swampy water."
Wildner among other runners who eagerly jumped in water making their way to the giant mud hill. Once back on pavement a short run brought them to a ditch full of water.
"You're like running around, and then there's a hole. And you don't see it, and you're waist deep. You're like this is awful, but it's awesome," said Wildner.
Chief Rusty Sitter said, "Once they get done with that they do a little running through the woods. And then they hit another mud obstacle on the back side of the base in our crane yard, and they go through some more trenches and obstacles over there."
The trenches and obstacles were thought out by Chief Rusty Sitter who organized the mud run. He said the dirty work out helps fund an annual Seabee event.
"It's a fundraiser for our Annual Seabee Ball committee, to raise funds for everybody on the base," said Chief Sitter.
Commander of the base Captain Louis Cariello who participated in the five mile obstacle run said coast communities are a part of the Seabee's in many ways, so they want to connect with the public as much as possible.
Cariello said, "We get a lot of support from the local community. We have a difficult job, and we have our base here in the local community. And we want to give back a little bit for all the support we get."
Minutes after the race began runners crossed the finish line soaked from head to toe in mud.
"That was a great workout. Now I want to get some ice cream," said Wildner.
Trophies were presented after the run, and first place went to 18-year-old Chad Moore who completed the race in just 35 minutes!
Saturday's event brought in more than $25,000.00.