MuckFest MS Los Angeles: Team Men at Twerk, Ross Girard and Scott Backman

We’re super excited to chat with Ross Girard, team captain of LA’s team Men at Twerk, and one of his teammates, Scott Backman.

First off, meet Ross Girard.

MuckFest MS: What made you first decide to do MuckFest® MS?

Ross: I was hanging out with a few members of my kickball team. We play in a gay league, and our team is also named Men at Twerk. We were talking about how we’ve always wanted to do a mud and obstacle run – an athletic challenge that is fun and a bit out of the ordinary. I got an email from the National MS Society about MuckFest MS, and the rest is history. Seriously, it’s such a fun way to raise money to support the fight against MS, which is a cause that I’m very passionate about. I’m lucky to have a great group of friends who quickly came on board to support the cause and take part in the event. Also, a shout out to our female teammates! We’re not all men on team Men at Twerk – we’ve got some ladies too!

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

Ross: A close family member of mine has been living with MS for much of her adult life, and I’ve seen firsthand how unpredictable and scary this disease can be. The work that the National MS Society is doing both for research and in helping people living with MS is really fantastic, and I want to do whatever I can to help support the organization and their efforts.

MuckFest MS: What are you most excited for at MuckFest MS Los Angeles?

Ross: I’m excited to get muddy, of course! I love a good challenge, and I’m really looking forward to pushing myself and my teammates to get through the mud and obstacle course. Most of all, I’m excited for the experience we’ll have together and for being able to spread awareness about MS Continue reading

One Step at a Time: Laurieann Hart, Team Monster Smash, MuckFest MS Los Angeles

Meet Laurieann Hart, one of our awesome Los Angeles muckers from team Monster Smash.

MuckFest MS: Why did you initially decide to register for MuckFest MS?

Laurieann: My initial reason for registering for MuckFest MS? Because I CAN. This phrase is one I use daily in my life. I have relapsing-remitting MS and was diagnosed in 2009. Learning to cope with the symptoms and diagnosis was tough. I struggle with pain, numbness, weakness, fatigue, loss of vision, dizziness, and cognitive issues.

MuckFest MS: Why do you support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society?

Laurieann: The National MS Society was and is a HUGE support to me. I have received physical and occupational therapy through their programs as well as cognition therapy. I have attended helpful seminars, received needed publications, coaching and overall support. The National MS Society is there when I need them. Knowledge truly is power, and you just can’t put a price on the information and support they provide, not to mention treatments as a result of dedicated research! 

MuckFest MS: What is your number one fundraising tip?

Laurieann: I reached out to close friends and family. Another huge supporter of team Monster Smash is my husband. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and knows no stranger, and he has done more than half the fundraising. He works with a lot of small family businesses and also utilizes relationships from other points in his career.

MuckFest MS: If you could send one message to all MuckFest MS participants, what would it be?

Laurieann: I am truly living optimally with MS and am always willing to test my limits. Why not have fun with it and raise money and awareness for the cause? Especially since I CAN. Team Monster Smash thanks you for being an inspiration and helping us to smash out this MonSter as we run, swing, climb, crawl, fall, roll, and MUCK in the mud together. If you don’t have a team for MuckFest MS Los Angeles, please join us on Monster Smash!! :)

I look forward to the event itself and taking on one unfamiliar obstacle at a time, just like I do in my daily life, one step at a time

Mucker Q&A – David Cooley, The Revolutionists, MuckFest MS Los Angeles

Meet David Cooley, a fundraising rock star of The Revolutionists and first-time mucker who will be taking on the course at the first-ever MuckFest® MS Los Angeles.

MuckFest MS: What’s the story behind your team name?

David: My wife, Jodi Michele Cooley, has an MS Blog called MS Revolution, so I thought I’d incorporate her name for my team.

MuckFest MS: What initially made you decide to register for MuckFest MS?

David: I participated in a mud event last year with my childhood best friends. I loved it. I was looking to do another type of race and saw an ad for MuckFest MS LA, and I was in!

MuckFest MS: Who is your inspiration for participating in MuckFest MS?

David: My wife Jodi. She is the strongest, most positive person I have ever met. I have sat in awe of her many, many times. For 10 years, I have been watching my wife suffer and struggle with this disease. I’ve been sitting on the sideline whining about her plight and shaking my fists at the heavens, and I got sick of it – I decided I would finally do something about it. This MuckFest MS run and fundraiser is my first step.

MuckFest MS: You are a fundraising rock star. What is your number one fundraising tip?

David: I decided to not be afraid to ask anyone. I didn’t just ask, “Hey, wanna donate to a cool cause?” I used my personal story to ask for help. I also remind people and tell my friends who are fundraising to remind people of the personal nature of their donation request. Sadly, most people have someone in their life who suffers from MS, so I found they either used my wife or someone else they knew as inspiration for their donation. 

Also, this was a posting I put on my Facebook as an example:

“I realize how powerful the ice bucket challenge has been to raise money for ALS.  These days there are many such causes with each of us giving where we can. My case is close to home. I am in the middle of my own fundraising efforts to help my wife. My wife Jodi has suffered for over 10 years from Multiple Sclerosis. I have sat back for years watching and complaining but doing nothing. Not anymore! I am entered in the 2014 MuckFest MS. Please help me raise money to find a cure. If you can, please donate today.”

I then added my link to donate and have been shocked by the response!

MuckFest MS: As a team captain, how do you motivate your team to fundraise?

David: Similar to the above, I told them to ask, ask, ask. Anyone. Anywhere. Worst thing they say is no, and then you move on. I’m also hoping to do a lemonade stand with a few of the participants’ kids to get them involved as well.

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

David: Simple. Laughter, giggles, and lots of mud!!!! My niece is flying out from Boston to join me in the race, and I can’t wait for her to play as well.

Great advice, David! We’ll see you, Jodi, and The Revolutionists on October 25th!

Puck the Muck Duck Questionnaire

What do the famous French writer Marcel Proust, Robert DeNiro, and our very own Puck have in common? Aside from their notable artistic achievements and having sandwiches named after them, they’ve all completed a confession album, most often referred to as a Proust Questionnaire. Here’s what our “Duck of the Muck” had to say:

MuckFest MS Blog - Duck in Beer hat

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Mud, water, and beer, not necessarily in that order.

What is your greatest fear?

Not enough mud, water, and beer.

Which historical figures do you most admire?

It used to be Francis Bacon until I discovered that he wasn’t responsible for inventing my favorite food.

Which living person do you most admire?

My dad, who is a bit daffy.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“Indubitably” and “Can I get ketchup on that?”

What is your greatest extravagance?

Baths of Red Sea mud flown in from Djibouti every Friday. I also like saying, “Djibouti.”

What do you dislike most about your appearance?

That it makes so many others so envious.

What trait gets you into the most trouble?

My fowl mouth.

When and where were you the happiest?

About five minutes ago, right before you asked me to answer this questionnaire.

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I would really like long eyelashes.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Less odd ducks and quacks. Sorry.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Probably my Nobel Prize in Physics or being able to hold a beer with my webbed foot.

What is your most treasured possession?

A 19th century duck bill polisher from France that Napoleon used on his nose.

On what occasion do you lie?

When people ask to borrow my duck bill polisher.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

The off-season when there are no MuckFest® MS events, and most Mondays.

Who are your heroes in life?

I would say it’s the runners living with MS and their teams of family and friends who muck it out on the course.

What is it that you most dislike?

The phrase, “Last call, the beer garden is closing.”

If you could get a tattoo, what would it be and where would it be placed?

It would be a poem by Ogden Nash and it would be on my neck and probably my chest, I think, because the poem’s kind of long and my neck is kind of short:

Behold the duck.

It does not cluck.

A cluck it lacks.

It quacks.

It is specially fond

Of a puddle or pond.

When it dines or sups,

It bottoms ups.

What is your motto?

Mucketo ergo sum, which is Duck Latin for, “I muck it, therefore I am.”

Helpful Muckers

We’re proud to share some of our favorite stories of helpful muckers out on the MuckFest MS course. Did you have a special experience? Share it below in the comments!

MuckFest MS Helping Hands

“When I decided to fight my fear of the ropes [in Philadelphia], I climbed to the top—then I had to turn around and climb down. I was frozen. I wanted to jump. I couldn’t figure out how to get my 300 lb body over the top. My friends fear at the bottom made me more scared. Then two guys said, ‘We’ll help you—step on us.’ They didn’t realize how afraid I was that I would crush their 170 lb bodies. But I did it. Thanks to the two great guys that didn’t leave ’til I turned around on the ropes.” –Michele F. D. 

“I don’t do water. I def don’t do my head under water. So when my husband and two other teammates grabbed my hands and said, ‘JUMP!’, we all plunged into the mud pit together. That’s how my MS diagnosis has been in the past year – grabbing my husband’s hand and jumping into the unknown.”–Libbie G. 

“Volunteer helped me overcome my fear and take on the Mt. Muck-imanjaro at Chicago’s MuckFest MS. Thank you!” –Emily M. 

“I am 73 and ran the Denver event a couple of weeks ago. My oldest son was with me and he, along with countless other participants, kept encouraging me all the way. It was their motivation that kept me moving forward, and I did complete each and every obstacle in just about 1 hour. Thanks to all who shared their encouraging words!” –Paul L. 

“My girlfriend, Kellie, and I raced the MuckFest MS Denver together. She helped me conquer my fear of heights going over the top of the Spider Web and the even taller Mt. Muck-imanjaro. We made it to the end TOGETHER.” –Darlene C. 

“My trainer Jason convinced me to do MuckFest MS Boston 2013 by agreeing to do it with me. My first race of any kind. If it wasn’t for his belief that I could do it and his guidance on the course, I never would have signed up, never mind finished it. I took that experience and paid it forward this year by leading (I certainly never saw myself as a leader) a team of mostly first-time obstacle course and mud racers. So it all started with Jason’s simple words, “I’ll do it with you”. Thanks J!” –Michael P. F. 

Thanks to our contributors who shared these notes on our Facebook page.

 

Mucker Q&A – Kellie Chartier, Team Muckie Duckies, MuckFest MS San Francisco

We’re pumped to chat with first-time San Francisco mucker, Kellie Chartier, team captain of the Muckie Duckies.

MuckFest MS San Francisco participant.

MuckFest MS: What initially made you decide to register for MuckFest® MS?

Kellie: I wanted to do MuckFest MS last year, but it was canceled in San Francisco, unfortunately. So, when I got the email saying it was on for 2014 I jumped at the chance. Having MS myself, I know all too well what it can do to a body. I wanted to do MuckFest MS because I wanted to show people that even with MS you can be strong, healthy, and challenge yourself!

MuckFest MS: What is your number one fundraising tip?

Kellie: My number one fundraising tip is: ASK EVERYONE!!! They will either donate or they won’t. But if you don’t ask…then they definitely won’t donate! Every donation makes a difference no matter how big or small. I make sure that folks know this when asking so they feel comfortable donating whatever they can afford.

MuckFest MS: What is your mindset going into your first MuckFest MS adventure?

Kellie: My mindset going into my first MuckFest MS adventure is to bring awareness to MS and to HAVE FUN! Oh…and not lose a shoe in the mud. =)

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

Kellie: For this last question, I would like to share my favorite quote with all the other Muckers. It is, “The best way out of a problem is through it.” Let’s all support each other and know that we are not in this alone!!

BIG thanks to Kellie for her mucking awesome support of MuckFest MS San Francisco! We’ll see you on October 11th!

Mucker Q&A – Ali McGreal, Team Greatest Show on Dirt, MuckFest MS Denver

Denver muckers, you are in the presence of a legend! Ali McGreal of Team Greatest Show on Dirt offers us her mucky musings about MuckFest® MS.

MuckFest MS: Describe your first MuckFest MS Denver experience.

Ali: My first MuckFest MS Denver experience was four years ago in Winter Park. It was the inaugural year in Denver, and the course was one of the hardest in the country. I am a fan of endurance events, but since this was the year I was diagnosed with MS, I was able to talk a bunch of my friends who do not love endurance sports into doing the event to support me. We had some war wounds that year, but it was a blast and we all came back again the next year!MuckFest_MS_Team_Denver (1)

MuckFest MS: Who is your inspiration for participating in MuckFest MS?

Ali: My friends and family who donate or come out and do the event year after year to show their support for me and others with MS. This event gave me a really positive way to share my sad news with everyone, and it was very uplifting and inspiring to see the love and support that came out of this event for me. Like I mentioned before, I have quite a few friends who do not like running or mud but come out and do this event with me every year to show their support. It really means the world to me!DSC_0387 Continue reading