WHEN the weather turned dry last month, Paul Mahon, organiser of the inaugural Runamuck 5k and 10k in the grounds of Clonkeeran House, near Johnstown-Bridge, Co Kildare, was a worried man.
Would they have enough muck for the race?
As it turned out, he need not have worried. There was mud aplenty in the grounds of Clonkeeran House.
So much so that some of the 700 finishers simply tossed their running gear and shoes in the bin directly after the race.
Some races of this nature are so dog-rough tough you wonder why any sane person would sign on for them. The Runamuck, organised to raise funds for the Niall Mellon Fund, managed a good balance between athleticism and mere survival, bringing out the inner child in many.
There were tree trunks and hay bales to climb and jump over and pits and ditches to negotiate.
Although the trick was to stay on your feet, competitors by and large took the opportunity to have a mud-bath -- adding to the day's merriment.
Up front, Aidan Gorry from Mullingar held on for victory on the 10k course despite snagging a copper bracelet in the cargo netting obstacle just before the finish.
This allowed Adrian Hennessy to catch up and after a sprint for the line, both men were credited with a time of 43 minutes one second.
In third place was MSB athlete Mel Hillaird in 44 minutes and 15 seconds, while best of the teams was Wildwater Kayak Club.
Finishing 22nd and first of the women -- or muckettes -- was Fiona Roche in 50.17, followed by Michele Power of Wildwater and Patricia O'Brien from Ennis Track Club. James Nolan from Tipperary was first of the one lappers in 20.59, closely followed by Nathy Towey.
Not that winning was the point. For most people, getting around and having a laugh was the priority and there were plenty of big smiles at the finish.
Not only that but at just €20 for an early bird entry and €30 on the day, the race was excellent value.
Watch out for a second edition later in the year!