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The annual Mud Mountain 5K Classic should be a big draw for runners again on Saturday morning at the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville cross-country course.
People can still register from 6 to 7:45 a.m. at the course on Saturday. Benefiting the cross country/track & field teams at Edwardsville High School, Lincoln Middle School, and Liberty Middle School, this year’s race will feature a few new changes. For the second consecutive year, the Mud Mountain 5K will have team divisions. Team divisions will include a women’s division and a men’s division. Teams can include four to seven runners, as the top four finishers on each team will count in scoring. The winning team in each division will win a team plaque and all team members will receive championship medals.
The Mud Mountain 5K is open to all ages. The 5K will have bib chip timing and rapid results by Endurance Race Timing. The Fun Run immediately follows the 5K.
Everyone who enters will receive a performance sport shirt. Prizes and awards will be given to the top three individual finishers in each age division. Age divisions start at 11 years old, “so this is a great place to either start the kids out or discover that hidden running talent,” said George Patrylak, Head Cross Country Coach at Edwardsville High School.
“Mud Mountain is one of the few 5K cross country races that is available to all runners,” Patrylak said. “It is a great opportunity to get children introduced to the sport, as well as providing an opportunity for adults to get off the concrete and asphalt and on to the soft surface of a cross country course.”
Mud Mountain also offers more age divisions than most races.
“Approximately half the runners that compete in Mud Mountain are under the age of 19,” added Patrylak. “Since we have so many young runners, our age divisions are set up to benefit the younger participants.”
Mud Mountain is hosted by the EHS Cross Country/Track & Field Booster Club. This marks Patrylak’s second consecutive year serving as Race Director.
“Taking a line from EHS Principal, Dennis Cramsey, my goal as race director is to make this the best Mud Mountain ever,” added Patrylak about his hopes for the event.
Bib and T-shirt pickup and late registration can be done at the race site on race day starting at 6 a.m.
Patrylak said it is difficult to find a true cross country race for runners around the St. Louis area and that is a nice aspect for the race.
“We get alumni out and current athletes just enjoying the history of Edwardsville cross country,” he said. “We start the festivities tonight with a dinner. Then we expand after the race and have lunch with the parents and some of the graduates. We try to make it a big 24-hour family event.”
A total of 276 had registered as of today and the coach hopes to be over the 350 mark on Saturday.
The cross country coach praised Edwardsville’s cross country and track and field boosters for their help.
“We cover 12 programs, both boys and girls from middle school to high school in both cross country and track,” he said with the boosters. “The booster club does a tremendous amount for our programs. This is our biggest fund raiser.”