SYRACUSE -- Hundreds of people got muddy in the name of science and math education Saturday.
TNT Running, founded in 2012 by D.J. Burton, held its first annual 5k Redneck Mud Run. The course was full of challenging and muddy obstacles such as hay bales to crawl over or under, cargo nets, slop and slide, and a so-called redneck escalator, which consisted of a series of scaling ladders.
Burton also included events like mud volleyball, muddy tug-of-war, and a watermelon-eating contest for those who think "run" is a four-letter word.
"In the past, I've gone to races, and my family has had nothing to do," Burton said. "They don't want to go run a half-marathon; sometimes they don't even want to run the 5K. So, I added events like tug-of-war or volleyball that everyone can do, but they don't have to pay an arm and a leg to do it. They're having fun while Mom or Dad is out running the course."
Participants were also encouraged to dress up in their best redneck duds. Kaitlyn Borgschatz, 16, and her friend, Hanna Stuckey, 16, of Plain City, won the first Best Dressed award handed out for the day. The girls received fast-food gift cards.
"You always have to dress up," Kaitlyn advised. "It makes it so much more fun; and running in dresses is fun."
All proceeds collected from the event are going to a non-profit education organization called Get Scienced.
Jason Johnson, executive director of Get Scienced, said his organization is producing educational apps that teach children about math-and science-related careers. The apps include videos of math and science professionals describing their work, linked with articles explaining the science behind their work, followed by quizzes over the material presented in the apps. Children who score 100 percent on quizzes will earn "science points," which they can redeem for access to museums, sporting events and cultural events.
Jason explained how he got involved with the Redneck Mud Run. "D.J. is a good friend of mine, and TNT running is always looking for good ways to help the community. Get Scienced is one of those things that helps people on many levels; it helps teachers, it helps students, it helps parents. We also love to find sponsors that love to have fun, and TNT Running definitely likes to have fun."
Andrew Sturgell, a race director with TNT Running, credited sponsors for helping to make the event a success.
TNT Running can be found at tntrunning.com or on Facebook. Upcoming TNT events will include a Halloween Harvest half marathon at Black Island Farms in October and a "March, Run, Walk" race for St. Patrick's Day.
Get Scienced is rolling out a pilot program in Granite School District this year and hopes to have their apps ready for distribution to schools, teachers, and students by September 2014.