HINCKLEY – A little mud never hurt anyone.
The Royal Warrior Run, a half-mile obstacle course featuring a mud pit, army crawl and hay bale hurdles, took place Saturday at Hinckley’s Pioneer Park.
Almost all of the 28 children who participated finished the race in muddy shoes.
“You’re walking home,” Hinckley resident Chris Scotti told his son, who was covered up to his knees in mud. Their house was only a street away from the park.
“Part of being a kid is being messy all the time,” Scotti said.
Hinckley native Jake Austin, a physical education teacher in Oswego, helped organize the event with Hinckley Parks and Recreation.
The idea came to Austin after he saw similar events in Chicago. He wanted to localize it.
“There are so many more things in technology to keep [kids] inside,” Austin said. “They need to be outside. When I was a kid, I was outside all the time. It’s just something they can do to have fun and be active.”
Children in grades three through eight participated and the older children ran two laps, or one mile.
Big Rock resident Demi Namest, 10, ran the full mile. She said she would rather be outside playing with her friends at the park than stay inside the house.
“You can explore new things [outside],” she said.
Namest was dressed in all pink.
“These are my dirty clothes,” she said.
The biggest draw of the obstacle course was the mud pit, said Kris Ohnstad, Hinckley Parks and Recreation coordinator.
It was 8-year-old George Baumann’s favorite part of the race.
“It wasn’t really muddy,” Baumann said, “but I still got messy.”
Although Baumann admitted that video games are more fun than playing outside, that doesn’t keep him away from his trampoline at home.
And he knows exercise is important. It keeps people healthy when they grow up, he said.
Karen Leifheit, the grandmother of twins who ran the race, said it was wonderful for the kids to be outside.
Now that her grandsons are getting older, they are more interested in doing active things, such as playing soccer, Leifheit said.
“When there’s a group of kids doing it, it makes them want to do it,” she said. “They’re getting the idea of a team. It keeps them busy.”
A couple of kids lost shoes in the mud pit, and one boy finished the course with only one shoe on.
“Kids love it messy,” Leifheit said. “I knew [my grandson] Luke would try to get as muddy as he possibly could.”