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Featured Event: Muck Fest

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Excited to work with The Cube on MuckFest MS Chicago!

Originally posted on The Cube Blog:

Muck Fest, a 5k that’s helping raise money for MS!

By Chloe DeMars

This Saturday (8/29) we’re beyond excited to live stream our very 1st Muck Fest in Chicago, IL! So what is Muck Fest? It’s a fun and adventurous mud obstacle course open to everyone. The 5K route requires no prior training – but be prepared to get muddy! The event is built for laughs, but it’s also on a serious mission: to support people living with multiple sclerosis and to bring us closer to a world free of MS.

Photo Credit: Gameface Media & MuckFest MS Photo Credit: Gameface Media & MuckFest MS

If you’re based in Chicago and want to raise money for a worthy cause, all while having a fun, active day in the mud – sign up for Muck Fest HERE!

Can’t make the race, but looking for some outrageous entertainment this Saturday? Tune into our live stream HERE!

Photo Credit: Gameface Media & MuckFest MS Photo Credit: Gameface Media & MuckFest…

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Meet MuckFest MS Chicago’s Jamie Kruse.

MuckFest MS Chicago I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on August 1, 2002, when I was 18 years old. It was a bit of a shock, but I was lucky enough to have had and still have an amazing support group as well as a team of neurologists that never made me feel like the diagnosis was something that I couldn’t handle.

Everyone I interacted with was encouraging, until one day when I received a spinal tap. I distinctly remember a doctor entering my hospital room when I still couldn’t move and say, “You know, it is times like these when people ask God, ‘Why me?’”

I was so angry, because not once had I approached my circumstances with that perspective. At that moment, I made a vow to never look at my situation in that way going forward.

I immediately sought out information from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society about questions I had about the disease. To prevent a similar situation happening to others, I became a multiple sclerosis mentor through an online program when I was in college.
MuckFest MS Chicago

My mom heard about Walk MS, and in 2003, she participated in her first walk in Chicago. I couldn’t join her at that first event because I was away at college, but since then, family and friends have joined us every year at different locations.

My husband, Kyle was the one who first heard about MuckFest® MS in 2014. He and I have participated in various mud obstacle events, and we immediately signed up for MuckFest MS Chicago using our team name “Krusen’ 4 a Cure”.

We gathered my brother, sister-in-law, a great friend of mine, her husband, two of Kyle’s cousins, and my mother-in-law to take part in the muddy 5K with us. Only four of us had ever done something like it before, so it was amazing and hilarious to be a part of a team that didn’t care about dominating the obstacles. Rather, we focused on helping each other and laughing through it. My mother-in-law was knocked down by the Big Balls, and so many of us slipped in the mud that we could not stop laughing! 

As I said before, for 13 years, I’ve surrounded myself with positive people who never let me question, “Why me?” Instead, they encourage me to test my limits. The National MS Society and my family and friends constantly help me reach my goals and support me through everything.

If I’m stalled, we find ways to move forward.MuckFest MS Chicago

I love being able to take part in MuckFest MS, where everyone gets to take on physical and mental obstacles and experience what I’ve learned – having fun-loving people who help you get past things and support you makes those obstacles seem less scary.

The Schott Sisters Talk MuckFest MS Fundraising and Team Building

MuckFest MS: Thanks so much to the Schott sisters for joining us today to chat about their experience at MuckFest® MS! Would you introduce yourselves to our readers?

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2015

Lauren: I’m the oldest sister! I’m 24 years old and am in my final year of the Rutgers University Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. I graduated from West Chester University in 2013 with a Bachelor in Exercise Science. 

Lindsey: I’m the favorite child! I’m 21 years old and will be graduating this spring from Lehigh University with a Bachelor in Industrial and Systems Engineering. 

Nicole: I’m the youngest sister and am 19 years old. I am studying biomedical engineering at The College of New Jersey.

MuckFest MS: The reason we’re here today is to talk about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and MuckFest MS. Why is your family involved in supporting the National MS Society?

Lauren: Our mom was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago. We’ve watched her struggle through the progression of the disease. We try to do as much as we can to help her and support the National MS Society.

Schott Sisters with Mother

2011

Lindsey: Like Lauren said, we’re just trying to do anything we can to help the fight against MS. 

Nicole: Our goal is to raise as much money as possible to help out others who have been diagnosed with MS just like our mom.

MuckFest MS: We know from the way you all talk about your mom and each other that your family has a very tight bond. What does participation in MuckFest MS and fundraising for the National MS Society mean to your family?

Lauren: Every year, putting a team together and organizing fundraising events has brought the three of us closer together. Our teams, friends, and family, who are all such an important part of each of our lives, come together as one big team in support of the fight for our mom.

Lindsey: We’ve also learned a lot about each other in terms of working together professionally. We’re able to see a whole new side of each other as we work together to reach a common goal. 

Nicole: We have all been involved in MuckFest MS for 5 years now, including other members of our family. Our aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins have participated or have come to watch and support the team. It really encourages us to raise more money and brings us closer together as a family.

MuckFest MS: We understand that all three of you are very involved in athletics. Can you tell us which sports and where you play?

Lauren: I played field hockey for West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where we won back-to-back Division II National Championships in 2011 and 2012. 

Lindsey: I play field hockey for Lehigh University which is a Division I level, and we compete in the Patriot League. 

Nicole: Since I inherited my height from mom, I play basketball at The College of New Jersey which is Division III in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Schott Sisters

MuckFest MS: Can you tell us how each of your individual teams have played a role in your MuckFest MS experience? Continue reading

The spirit of St. Louis is MUCK-TACULAR!

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Thank you, St. Louis, for putting the muck in MuckFest® MS, for revealing the true heart and soul of the event, and for displaying a seemingly endless capacity for having fun. With some of the best mud of the season (gooey, viscous, drying to a fine plaster), the course was primed for action, and you delivered in a big way. St. Louis muckers owned the obstacles—including a lengthy Walk on Water—and attained a level of bodily mud coverage that broke all previous records. Big props for conquering one of the most difficult Spill Hills yet, a feat made possible by incredible teamwork and enthusiastic camaraderie. Happily, the hilarity didn’t stop at the finish line. After the run, there was quite a bit of toasting and celebrating, and many muckers made quite a splash, so to speak, in our log-rolling pool, turning it into a muddy dunk tank. Sincere and special thanks go out to the St. Louis volunteers…let’s just say your hard work, friendly smiles and positive attitude redefined the meaning of dedication in our muck-dictionary. And big thanks again this year to Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 for being such a great event partner.

5 Best MuckFest MS Moments

In her final post, Jennifer Hollandworth, a five-time St. Louis Mucker, put together a list of her top five favorite MuckFest® MS moments.

5. I enjoyed checking out all of the MuckFest MS team outfits from the past 5 years. Mustaches, tongue-in-cheek team names, chicken hats, and, of course, getting to embrace my love for neon when my team went full on 80’s!

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4. I’ve been known to redo obstacles for the challenge and the photos. I redid The Spinner because I thought I could hang on the whole time and couldn’t on my first try. (I got it on round two!) Getting back on the Swing Set to perfect my awesome victory pose might sound crazy, but it was worth all the memories. Plus, an epic cape flying photo sure helped spruce up my thank yous and fundraising page for the next year’s MuckFest MS!

MuckFest MS St. Louis Swing Set

3. The monkey bars made me bananas. I went back to the monkey-bar-style obstacle three times at my first MuckFest MS event. The challenge of this obstacle motivated me to train and became a large component in how I challenge myself.

MuckFest MS St. Louis

2. Once, I wore a full wedding dress to Trash the Dress for MS. Nothing says crazy quite like a white dress at a mud obstacle run. My getup was complete with a veil, garter, bouquet, and even a groom! As I went through the course, I cut away the dress for fun and necessity; trains get heavy when covered in that much muck! Just ask the ladies from The Bachelor!

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1. I formed the team, Wayne’s Warriors, in 2014 to support a friend who lost his dad to MS in January 2014. It was such an honor to wear Wayne’s name and honor his memory. This will always be my top MuckFest MS moment.

MuckFest MS Wayne's Warriors

Thanks for your incredible support, Jennifer!

Congratulations, Muckers! You are 100,000 strong.

MuckFest MS 100,000th Mucker

We’re proud to recognize a very special Chicago Mucker as our 100,000th Mucker. Erica Montelo initially became involved with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society when her sister, Kelly, was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis five years ago. Alongside her family and friends, Erica participated in Walk MS events.

However, Erica decided that she wanted to do more. For the past two years, Erica has participated in MuckFest® MS to raise funds and awareness for the National MS Society. She mucks alongside her coworkers as a part of Team Microsoft.

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Says Erica, “My sister means the world to me and getting all mucky and muddy to help raise money for the National MS Society is the least I can do.”

We asked Erica a few more questions about her sister, Team Microsoft, MuckFest MS, and her support of the National MS Society.

What is your connection to the National MS Society?

My oldest sister, Kelly, was diagnosed with Progressive MS in March of 2009 at the age of 31. Since then, we have participated in events such as Walk MS and now, MuckFest MS!

Can you describe your sister’s experience living with multiple sclerosis?

Since being diagnosed, Kelly has faced many changes in her life, some positive and some difficult. Shortly after being diagnosed, Kelly had to resign from her line of work. Personally speaking, I’ve watched some daily activities become more difficult for my sister. However, those daily challenges have built even stronger relationships between those who care for Kelly. MS is not just physically exhausting, but emotionally exhausting, as well. There are constant reminders of concerns regarding what she can and cannot do, however, we encourage her to continue to do what she enjoys.

What does your sister mean to you?

My sister Kelly and I have been close since the day I was born. There isn’t a single thing I wouldn’t do for her. If I could even change roles with her, I would in a heartbeat. She continues to amaze me every day and is still my go-to. She has helped me realize I am most happy when I am giving back and helping others. She has inspired me to go back to school for Physical Therapy and to fulfill my dreams. I can’t thank her enough for what she has done and continues to do for me.

As a part of Team Microsoft, tell us about the support you’ve received from your coworkers.

Having my coworkers support means the world to me. Without them, my impact on the National MS Society would not have been as successful. They did an amazing job with fundraising, helped decide on our team costumes, and gave up their Saturday for a great cause! My coworkers know how much my sister means to me. It has shown me that what is important to me is important to them and how much we care for one another. I look forward to continuing this event with my amazing colleagues!

Tell us about your experience at your first MuckFest MS in Chicago last year.

I can’t say enough good things about MuckFest MS and the National MS Society. Everyone was extremely helpful answering questions leading up to the event and even reached out after the event. The day of the event, everything was organized and well put together. There were team activities to build up excitement before starting the obstacle course. This was my first 5K, and I was a little nervous, but very excited. During the course, we were no longer separate teams but all one team. Everyone was helping each other pull through to finish the course.

If you had one message to all Muckers, what would it be?

Don’t give up and don’t take anything for granted. I never thought I’d make it through a 5K, but my sister taught me that I can overcome any obstacle.

Join Erica and Muckers across the country at MuckFest MS to support people living with MS and to bring us closer to a world without MS.

5 Interesting Ways to Fundraise for MuckFest MS

Next in our series, five-time St. Louis Mucker, Jennifer Hollandworth, is back with a list of her top five fundraising ideas for MuckFest® MS. What would you add to the list?

  1. Get your friends to sponsor your workout! Whether it is a special training run where they sponsor quarter miles sections, or a burpee-per-dollar challenge, you’ll be surprised how much your friends like to make you sweat!
  2. Tap into your sweet tooth. Have your very own bake sale with obstacle-themed confections! Puck the Muck Duck sugar cookies with a hint of sassy lemon zest could be a big hit. Mudslide cupcakes for sale! Rocky Road cookies to support a world free of MS? YUM!
  3. Recycle! There are lots of places in the area that take scrap metals by the pound. Clean out your garage, turn in all those soda cans, and help support those with MS.
  4. Ask for a BIG gift. Graduating this year? Have a birthday coming up? Ask for the gift of research that goes well beyond this year. Ask your friends and family to donate to your runs instead. Class of 2015? Suggest they donate $20.15! Instead of Grandma sending you a card with $10, ask that she donate in honor of your birthday. Seeing how much the National MS Society and MuckFest MS mean to you WILL inspire others.
  5. Keep your emails interesting. You can email your whole address book to ask for support right from your Participant Center, but no one said you had to use the standard emails. Want people to read your fundraising emails? Spice them up. I’ve owned up to singing Uptown Funk while on the monkey bars at my local playground. I’ve shared how many burpees it takes to make me want to hurl. I’ve called out family who should be getting mucked up with me, and taken the opportunity to put some personal tidbits about why I’m so passionate about the National MS Society into my e-mails. Enthusiasm is infectious!

MuckFest MS St. Louis Mucker

Top 5 Tips for the First Time Mud Obstacle Runner

We’re excited to start a “Top 5” mini-series with Jennifer Hollandworth, a five-time St. Louis Mucker.

Top 5 Tips for the First Time Mud Obstacle Runner

Today, Jennifer has put together a list of her top five tips for first-time mud obstacle runners.

  1. Wear good socks and decent shoes! Even if you’re used to running and have built up some calluses, they are no match for old cotton socks and mud. Nothing slows down your muddy fun like blisters. I never tape my shoes, but some Muckers choose to; I’d rather have fitted shoes tied tightly. Remember, you can also choose to donate your shoes at the end of the run!
  2. Loose 100% cotton shirts, leg warmers, tutus and capes get HEAVY when muddy. I’m certainly not saying don’t wear them, because I’ve done it all! Just be aware that you might be carrying more than a few extra pounds with you by the time you’ve finished.
  3. Don’t try to go too quickly. Enjoy sloshing around with your team and learning to get your muck legs. This isn’t your standard 5K, so don’t expect your usual 5K time. More time for awesome Swing Set leaps, Belly Crawls and playing with some Big Balls is worth savoring! 
  4. Bring clean up gear. You will for sure want a couple of towels, flip flops for the hose down area, some trash bags, a little bit of shampoo (or even dish soap in a muddy pinch!), and a complete change of clothes for after the mudding fun!
  5. Have fun! MuckFest® MS is a great opportunity to dress up, have a theme, get mucky, and run around for a great cause. Slip, slide, splash, climb, fall, and, of course, smile for the cameras! Expert note: Make sure your bib is on your front and is visible for the photographers – then you can relive the memories again and again via crazy photos!

Muckers, what would you add to the list? We have some other ideas here on what to wear and what to expect on the course!

NOW THAT IS HOW IT IS DONE, DETROIT MUCKERS!

Thank you from MuckFest MS, Detroit!

Outstanding, Detroit! You delivered in a big way, going above and beyond our muckiest dreams! In fact, you muckers were so game for craziness at the start line, emcee Al had to step up his antics to fully satisfy your appetite for muck. The weather was also muck-tacular, providing a gloriously sunny backdrop to our day and helping Big Balls truly shimmer like the beauties they are. We loved seeing you conquer this year’s new obstacles. While you climbed and you crawled with the grace of a hyena on a high-wire, you did so with an abundance of gusto. You made us proud after the run, too: way to celebrate in the MuckFestival area, playing Giant Beer Pong and thoroughly enjoying the Traveler Beer, provided by our muck-tacular national sponsor. A sincere thanks to all the great volunteers; you proved that “Midwest nice” is alive and well in Michigan, giving us the most enthusiastic showing of the year. And thank you to Willow Metropark for being such a great host and allowing us to muck about on your site for the weekend.