Take on MuckFest Like a Pro…Like Sarah from Philly
Going through MuckFest is meant to be a fun but sometimes challenging experience that will leave you laughing, feeling accomplished…and of course, covered in mud. It’s a truly unique experience! Doing all of that with a team of mostly kids? Well, that makes it one-of-a-kind! That’s what Sarah LaFrance thinks anyway!
She heard about MuckFest from a business partner in 2015, right around the time she had been looking for a charitable fitness event to do with her Makoto After-School members. Since the members of that group are kids, the event she was looking for had to be fun, had to be for a good cause, and it had to be something that EVERYONE — including her kids — could do. Enter MuckFest. It was like the mud gods had aligned everything in her favor.
By making MuckFest an annual Makoto (or “Muckoto”) event, they used it as part of the Makoto After-School Curriculum to “teach the kids about fitness, goal setting, time management, paying it forward, and teamwork. All in a fun manner!”
Since that first MuckFest, Sarah has been back four times as Team Captain of Muckoto, leading her team of kiddos through the mud. To say she’s a pro is an understatement. And now she’s sharing her expertise!
How did you prepare for your first run?
We had the Muckoto Team members who are in our after-school program create a schedule for running/exercise. They would plan it all out on a calendar and then do it. They’d manage their time… set goals… and reach goals. We even had the kids create a mock obstacle course for themselves and any other youth members who wanted to try it. We also talked about healthy eating and hydration. The kids planned healthy snacks after school and had a meal plan ready for the day before the run.
What are your fundraising recommendations?
Make it about spending time as a community. Something that people don’t necessarily see as a fundraiser but rather as an opportunity to get together and do something with fun, like-minded people. That it’s a fundraiser is almost secondary. And think different! Like holding an “Axe Throwing” party for the adults. Or a “Pie in the Face” event. Our kids love doing that. We made $150 in 20 minutes!
What’s one thing you wish you had known before your first MuckFest?
Not to worry. You CAN do it. This isn’t a Tough Mudder. There’s no electric fence… no time to beat… and no pressure. This is a FUN mud run. It is most definitely built for laughs… and you will have a lot of them.
Enjoy the time. Enjoy the obstacles. Enjoy the people around you. You WILL make it through… however you need to. And someone (a team member… volunteer… or different team altogether) will always be there to motivate you to go on.
What is an obstacle that runners should for sure look out for?
Hard to choose! I guess I would have to say that I have two favorites. The first is the Triple Pits because I always love how all the people come together for that obstacle. There is always someone lending a hand to a runner who cannot make it up the hill. And the grins are contagious.
My second favorite would have to be the Spinner because whoever is my partner on the rings, always tries to make me lose my grip. There is splashing… kicking… and much laughing. All in the hopes of seeing one of us fall off the rings and into the water. Bragging rights if you do it.
Any other general tips for first-timers?
Buy sneakers from Goodwill so that you can donate them afterward and not worry about cleaning your favorite pair of sneakers. Bring LOTS of baby wipes as well as travel sized shampoo and soap. Don’t forget the towel! And make sure you wear something that covers your knees. There can be stones in the mud at some of the crawling obstacles.
What keeps you coming back again and again?
The community. And I mean not only the MuckFest community — that being the MuckFest staff as well as the volunteers — but the internal community it creates. Team Muckoto is a living, breathing entity that people look forward to joining every year. And it brings people back. We have people who are no longer Makoto members… but they run with the Muckoto Team every year. MuckFest does that. It makes a village.
It also serves as a reminder to all of us to put down your electronics… leave work behind… and stop worrying. Live in the moment. Believe in yourself. Do something fun… together! And never forget that we all need help in this world at some point. So, offer up that hand. Boost someone up. You never know who might need it.