The overwhelming popularity of the first annual Dirty Girls Mud Run last year caught organizer Sharla Brown by surprise.
This year, now knowing what to expect, she is prepared to make the event even bigger.
Registration for the second installment of the event, which will be held Aug. 9, began early Saturday morning at the Intercity Shopping Centre.
“I wasn’t prepared for it last year,” Brown admitted. “We had aerial shots of 700 women standing there and me failing miserably,” Brown admitted.
“This year I was prepared. We had 12 different registration spots and got through all the ladies in an hour and nobody had to wait that long. Everybody got a spot and I’m so happy for that.”
Last year’s event capped registration at 750 participants but Brown said with the high demand and ability to get more people on the course enabled her to allow more people to sign up.
“We knew there was some space and lulls in the day we could fill so we’ve opened up and will probably have around 1,200 racers this year,” she said.
Even so, teams were not about to risk the chance of missing out on one of the biggest events of the summer.
Brown arrived at Intercity shortly after 7 a.m., more than two hours ahead of the start of registration, to start setting up and found a team already waiting.
She said the event is successful because it allows the participants to do some female bonding around training and fundraising in the weeks and months leading up to the event. The costumes, team names and spirit all contribute to the atmosphere.
Sarah Pellerin volunteered at the event last year and decided to hit the course this time around.
“It was pretty easy to get a group together,” Pellerin said. “I got a group of girls at work from the emergency department and a lot of them are looking a reason to get motivated.”
The Lake Superior Scottish Regiment will once again design the course for the event and Brown said they already have plans for new challenges to make it for fun.
While fun is the name of the game, the event also serves as a significant fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. In its first year, participants raised more than $200,000.
“It’s for a great cause and I think a lot of people will come forward with donations to help everybody out,” Pellerin said.
Men will get to take part this year, as Brown is coordinating a separate event that allows both male and female participation.
The Conquer the Fort will be held in July at Fort William Historical Park. That event will feature a 7 kilometre long course and will allow both individual and team registrants.
More information can be found at their website.
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