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A Grape day for a mud run (11 photos)

More than 200 mudders took to the 5-kilometre Muddy Grape Endurance Run course at Cox Creek Cellars on Saturday to raise funds for The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ontario

Competitors of all ages and skill levels took to the course at Cox Creek Cellars on Saturday in a common pursuit — to get muddy.

In its third year, the Muddy Grape Endurance Run is a 5-kilometre mud run which challenges participants to raise funds for The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Ontario.

More than 200 mudders participated in Saturday’s event, said organizer Carrie Gouthro.

A final tally will be available in the coming days, said Gouthro, but she expects the event to have pulled in well over $15,000.

She said everyone has their own reason to run.

"Some are here because they are competitive and they do different mud runs around the province, some are here simply because they know it's for charity and they just want to help out," said Gouthro. "Some people will support any event for law enforcement."

Jordan Sands ran the course last year and came back on Saturday to support his mom’s team from Merry Maids of Guelph called 'The Dirt Devils'.

"It's just going out, having fun and doing whatever obstacles you want and hang out with some of your buddies," said Sands.

The course consists of a mix of flat-out running, water obstacles and various apparatus that must be climbed or ducked under.

Most competitors choose to do all of the obstacles, said Gouthro.

Rosalyn Contini had never competed in a mud run, but came out to support her sister.

"My brother-in-law is a retired police officer and my nephew is on the force as well. They do a lot of help with the Special Olympics," said Contini.

Unfortunately, her sister was sidelined with an injury but Contini’s son and grandson stepped in to round out the team.

"It was like three generations that ran — myself, my son and my grandson," she said.

In total, about 50 volunteers come out to support the event, said Sheryl Banks, who is on the planning committee for the event.

Muddy Grape is lucky to have volunteers who come back year after year, said Banks.

“We also reach out to some sports teams to see if they will do it as their volunteer hours,” she added.

Some teams split up over the span of the 5-kilometre course, but a six-person team from McNeil Consumer Healthcare stayed together for the entire race and held hands as they crossed the finish line. 

As they were catching their breath at the finish line, team leader Delaney Howes said they agreed to start and finish the race together. 

"We work as a team, no man left behind,” she said.