Summertime + Epic Road Trip + MuckFest MS St. Louis = Mucking Awesome

Happy summer! You know it’s going to be a great blog post when it includes summertime, an epic road trip, and MuckFest® MS. Meet Katie Hardeman from Team Not MSing Around. She and her team will be traveling all the way from Iowa to St. Louis to get mucky at MuckFest MS St. Louis. We sat down with this first-time-Mucker to hear more about her passion for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and her excitement for MuckFest MS.


MuckFest MS: Why is the National MS Society important to you?

Katie: The National MS Society is extremely important to me because my mom was diagnosed with MS in 1995 at the age of 35 years old. Being so young when my mom found out about her MS diagnosis, I never really understood what MS meant. It was hard to grasp what was wrong with her because she looked and acted normal on the outside, but what I didn’t know is how she felt on the inside. As I got older, I got a little bit more knowledgeable on this awful disease. I can honestly say getting involved with the National MS Society is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. It’s a terrible feeling when you see a loved one struggle or in pain, and by getting involved, I can put a smile back on my mom’s face and give her and everyone else with MS a little more hope for finding that cure!

MuckFest MS: Why did you choose to sign up for MuckFest MS?

Katie: I have never participated in MuckFest MS before but have participated in other MS events. This is my first year, and our team is pumped about the road trip from Iowa to St. Louis! Not only does it look like a blast, but it’s for a great cause that is close to my heart!

  MuckFest MS St. Louis Photo

MuckFest MS: What are you most excited for at your first MuckFest MS event?

Katie: I am looking forward to just being there, getting mucky, and seeing all the awesome supporters. I can’t wait to help celebrate everyone’s hard work of raising money to find a cure for MS!

MuckFest MS: What is your top fundraising tip?

Katie: The main fundraising tip I can give anyone is to HAVE FUN WITH IT! My employer, Grinnell Mutual, is a HUGE supporter, and my team couldn’t have raised the money without all of the employees help and support!

MuckFest MS St. Louis Photo

MuckFest MS: If you could send a message out to all Muckers, what would it be?

Katie: If I could send a message to all the Muckers, it would be a favorite quote of mine: “Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts!” — Unknown

Katie, we’ll see you and team Team Not MSing Around out on the MuckFest MS course on July 11th. Have a safe (and incredibly fun!) road trip down to St. Louis.

Mucky Mousse Cake Recipe

Every year, Chicago Pastry Chef Aaron Manuyag creates a special “muck inspired” dessert that MuckFest MS Muckers can make and enjoy at home. (Remember last year’s Muck Pie? YUM.) This recipe was created with the home baker in mind. We promise it is simple, even though it seems like there are a lot of steps! 


Shopping List

  • Vanilla Cake Mix
  • Milk Chocolate – 18.5 ozs/531 grams
  • Cream – 15 ozs/425 grams
  • Cream (to whip) – 30 ozs/850 grams
  • Rice Krispies – 4 cups
  • Dark Chocolate – 1 cup-1.75 cups
  • Sugar – 3 cups
  • Water – 1.5 cups
  • Fruit Preserves (jam flavor of your choice)
  • Caramel Sauce (Chef likes Trader Joe’s salted caramel)


Vanilla Cake

Begin making the vanilla cake. You can make any recipe of vanilla cake you prefer, even boxed cake mix! Pour your cake batter into a standard half-sheet pan (13x18in). Your goal should be to have a cake that is about 1 inch thick. Cool the cake completely, and then freeze it.  Once it has been frozen, use either a 6-inch cake ring or a small plate to cut out 4 identically-sized circles.


Chocolate Mousse Recipe

  • Milk Chocolate – 18.5 ozs/531 grams
  • Cream – 15 ozs/425 grams
  • Cream (to whip) – 30 ozs/850 grams

Put the chocolate in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil, and then pour it over the chocolate. Let the cream sit for a few minutes until the chocolate begins to melt. Then, mix the two ingredients together until it is homogenous. While you’re letting the chocolate cool down, whip the 30ozs/850 grams of cream until it has stiff peaks. When the chocolate mixture has cooled down, fold in all the whipped cream. Transfer the chocolate mousse into a pastry bag.

Chocolate Crunchies

  • Rice Krispies – 4 cups
  • Dark Chocolate – 1 cup-1.75 cups

Toast the Rice Krispies in a 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes, making sure to shake the pan every 15 minutes to evenly toast the cereal.

When the cereal is cooled, melt the chocolate in a microwave for about 30 seconds. Use a spatula to move the chocolate around and get it all melted (DO NOT OVERHEAT). When the chocolate is completely melted, add all the cereal and toss the two together until the Rice Krispies are coated. Then, spread the mixture onto a sheet tray and let the chocolate set up.

Chocolate Crunchies

Simple Syrup

  • Sugar – 3 cups
  • Water – 1.5 cups

Add the sugar and water into a small pot, bring it to a boil, and then cool it down.


Choose a base on which you want to build the cake. For reference, the chef used a 6 inch cake ring and some acetate (firm, clear plastic sheet, like the screen projector sheets from the office supply store). If you don’t have a cake ring or acetate, that’s okay…your cake might be a little messy, but who cares…it will still be delicious.


Take 3 of the cake circles and brush them generously with the simple syrup. Grab the small jar of fruit preserves (any flavor works). Chef used Fig Jam, because figs pair great with chocolate. Then, take the jam and spread it over the 3 cake circles that have the simple syrup.




Place the first cake circle on the base with the jam side up. 



Next, pipe a ½ inch thick layer of chocolate mousse on top of the jam.



Then crumble some of the chocolate krispies on top of the mousse.



Repeat this step 2 more times with the other cake layers.


Take the last cake circle that hasn’t been touched and put it on top of the last mousse layer.


In a small bowl, heat 1 cup of the caramel sauce with 1/2 cup of dark chocolate in the microwave. This takes 15-30 seconds. Be careful, or this will become too hot and might burn.




When you have mixed the sauce all together, dump it right on top of the cake and cover the entire top cake layer.



Once the caramel has set up a bit, pile on the rest of the chocolate crunchies.


Put the entire cake in the freezer, and let it completely set. If you have used the cake ring and acetate, remove it once you have frozen the cake.


Temper the cake in the fridge and ENJOY!


Aaron Manuyag is a Chicago pastry chef and baker. He was trained at the French Pastry School of Chicago and currently works at Nico Osteria, on Chicago’s Gold Coast. He is originally from Oxnard, California.

MudRunFun Review of MuckFest MS Philadelphia

Check out this great new review of MuckFest MS Philadelphia on!

“Since I started racing I have managed to stay pretty mud free. While traveling to this race I wondered if this would be the race that I finally would get to play in mud. Reviewing the pictures on their site made me think that I would find some. I was wrong. Oh so wrong. From the first obstacle to the last it’s mud, muddy water, rubber ducks here and there, more mud, what else can I say? This race was fun and muddy. Muckfest also raises funds for Multiple Sclerosis so along with having fun, you get to fundraise for a great cause.”


Well done, New Mucking Jersey!

MuckFest MS New Jersey

From the extraordinarily muddy and wonderfully wacky shenanigans in the Muckin’ Corral at the Starting Line, through the absolute muddiest and most spill-filled Big Balls on record, to the post-run rocking and rolling in the MuckFestival area, you certainly know how to “muck it” out of the park, so to speak.

That’s what we call TEAM-TACULAR!
New Jersey had some of the largest, most creatively decked-out and in general, most muck-tacular teams we’ve ever seen. At the top of a truly impressive heap were two teams, Hermann Mudsters, the top fundraising team and the Mucky Blues, our fabulous presenting sponsor, Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey. Outstanding.

Leading the Way
We can’t name them all here, but please check out the New Jersey Leader Board to see all the leading teams and individual fundraisers, including our Top Fundraiser Tobias Schraven. We are sincerely impressed and grateful to have such enthusiastic support from so many great teams and individuals, who helped turn this one-day event into a two-day muck-stravaganza. Big thanks to Muck Ambassador Michael Furey, captain of Team Filth & Furey, for getting the party started and kicking off the festivities on Saturday and Sunday; remind us to a get mucky top hat to go with that sash. Thanks to our enthusiastic and helpful volunteers for keeping it safe and making everyone smile, from the moment they parked their cars, through check-in and out on the course, to the last Traveler beer toast of the afternoon—we couldn’t do it without you.


Michael Furey, New Jersey Mucker: My Story

Check out this incredible new post by Michael Furey.

“I grew up a typical kid on Long Island, consumed with family, sports and friends. From an early age, I struggled in school and to cope with that I poured all my efforts into basketball. It became my one true love, an escape, a passion, and what my world operated around. It helped me succeed through high school, giving me the confidence to succeed in the class room. I was lucky enough to play basketball in college and experience so many things. By the time my college career ended, I had successes and disappointments, all of which prepared me for my journey ahead.

Shortly after graduating college, I found myself in a post 9/11 world. I decided then that security intelligence and law enforcement would be my career path. I worked through a post-graduate degree and applied for jobs with all the “3 letter” Government Agency jobs.

In 2004, I landed a great job with the Department of Defense that required me to relocate to the Baltimore/Washington, DC area to start my training. I also married my girlfriend Jennifer, and we were both excited to start our new lives together. During this time, I continued to lean on basketball as my stress relief; it was always my favorite social setting and my best competitive outlet. I played in local leagues and pick-up games. It always reconfirmed how much I loved to play the game. As cliché as it sounds, the basketball court was the only place where I thought about nothing and was completely present and happy.

In August 2005, a little less than a year into my new career, I woke up one morning and my feet felt numb. I thought maybe I had tweaked my back since the training program for my job was rigorous and exhausting. I shrugged it off and assumed the numbness would go away. For the next month, I essentially ignored it and I continued to work hard, but the numbness never subsided. It quickly moved from my feet, making its way up my legs and eventually throughout my entire body. My wife and I had lived in Maryland for such a short period of time that we hadn’t established a network of doctors yet. Randomly finding a doctor out of the phone book, we made an appointment to find out exactly what was going on.

 “A pinched nerve is likely,” said the random doctor, “but what do you know about multiple sclerosis?”

That one simple statement started the never ending testing that led to MRIs, vision tests, spinal taps, blood patches and endless amounts of blood work. Not only was my body physically numb, but I became mentally numb during the process. Finally, after all the tests had been taken and after all the blood had been drawn, I couldn’t ignore what the doctors were about to confirm. It was multiple sclerosis. Continue reading