McGRAW — Smiling faces covered in mud were a common scene at the end of the Screamin’ Eagle Mud Run on Saturday as the race was held for the second year in a row.
Around 450 people, more than twice last year’s number, gathered at the McGraw High School to take part in the second Screamin’ Eagle Mud Run.
The run, which takes its name from the school’s eagle mascot, features a two-mile course littered with obstacles.
The course was longer than last year’s, said Caitlin Goodwin, the event organizer. New obstacles on this year’s course were climbing walls, built by students and maintenance officials at the school and a larger downhill slip-and-slide.
The Millagan family from Cortland was hoping to have a lot of fun on the course.
“I’m expecting the boys to throw mud at me,” said Alyssa Millagan, mother of young boys Cole and Tristan Millagan.
The first group of runners started at 9:10 a.m. at the high school. The course then took runners uphill into the woods behind the school.
Noah Artis of Homer had different plans than the Millagan family, hoped not to lose his shoes during the course.
Participants made their way in a giant circle, which went from the high school to the elementary school and back again.
The event is a fundraiser and the proceeds go to the sixth through eighth grades for trips, Goodwin said.
Last year the event raised around $1,500 to go to the middle school classes. This year, with more participants, the event raised around $3,500 from the run alone.
The toughest part of the course, said Goodwin, is the uphill terrain at the start.
The course takes about 45 minutes for the average runner to complete, Goodwin said.
The course itself was set up by students in the Life Skills class at the school.
Jason Goldman of Endicott was the first person to cross the finish line at this year’s event, completing the course in under an hour. “The occasional hills. Just when you think you’ve finished with one you’re going up another,” Goldman said in his opinion of the toughest part of the course.
“The slip and slide was the most fun,” he said, adding the course could have been a little longer but was perfect for the younger runners. Goldman plans to return next year if the event doesn’t coincide with any other runs on his schedule.
“The event is about school pride and spirit, as well as the kids,” said McGraw Superintendent of Schools Mary Curcio.
“The event brings families and the community together,” Curcio said.
The McGraw Fire Department and the McGraw Lions Club were also helping organize the event. The fire department had set up a large sprinkler system for the beginning of the race and even added water to parts of the course to make it extra muddy.
The Lions Club was holding a chicken barbecue, which sold out, after the race. The exact amount raised was unknown by press time this morning, but the money goes back to the community and helps fund around 2,000 eye screenings for children throughout the county.
The event was so much fun that the school plans to continue it next year, Goodwin said.