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MuckFest® MS Denver is THIS SATURDAY, and we can’t wait to get muddy at our event site in Parker, Colorado! Below is a list of Parker “must-dos” that are highly recommended by your fellow Denver muckers and perfect for all you foodies.

PRE-MUCK

  • The Donut House is Parker’s family-owned and operated donut heaven. Perfect for a pre-Muck sugar, I mean, energy boost.
  • Fika Coffee House has two locations to satisfy your coffee cravings! The original is in the town of Parker on old Mainstreet. The other is in the Idyllwilde neighborhood nearby.
  • Rory’s Diner, just south of Mainstreet on Pikes Peak Drive, has some good comfort food, salads, sandwiches and breakfast all day.

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POST-MUCK

Hungry? Parker has some amazing restaurants.

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Thirsty? Parker also has some incredible beer.

Room for Dessert?

  • Butterfield’s Ice Cream is a local ice cream shop about 10 minutes south of the event site, near Stroh Ranch. A perfect finish to your Saturday!

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Still need to get your ’fest on?

  • Parker Oktoberfest is taking place this weekend in O’Brien Park on Main Street. It’s open until 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Admission is free!

So, there you have it! Did we miss your favorite spot? Let us know in the comments where else we should try!

 

In 2016, Alex’s company chose the National MS Society to be their charity of the year, making MuckFest MS Dallas a team affair! Her company paid the registration fee for all employees, and together, they mucked. This cause, and this event, are especially important to Alex, as she is living with MS. Alex didn’t know what to expect that first year, but she became hooked and has never looked back! She will be back again this year, and is upping her fundraising game. Now a MuckFest MS vet, she’s telling us why she mucks…

How did you feel completing that first MuckFest MS?

It was such a fun time; my peeps and I knew immediately we wanted to do this every year!

What’s one thing you wish you had known for your first MuckFest MS?

I learned to wear a bathing suit underneath my clothes to help with the cleanup process afterwards.

What keeps you coming back again and again?

It is just such a fun time, and I love the obstacles! I especially love The Spinner because I like to see if I make it without falling into the water (and it’s hilarious when someone does)!

What was a challenge you overcame as part of MuckFest MS that you’re especially proud of?

I was apprehensive about getting wet, but after the zip-line I realize that it’s half the fun! I still have not overcome my fear of Crash Landing though and honestly do not see that changing in my future.

What are your favorite parts of MuckFest MS?

The overall spirit of the runners and volunteers. Everyone is so fun-loving and you can tell are there to just have a fun time! And the name! I love the play on words with “muck.” 🙂

What are you most looking forward to this year?

This year, fundraising has been exciting for me.  We didn’t really raise any money in the past so this is a new side that I have been eager to learn about, and I am looking forward to seeing how much money my team has raised by the event! And, the free beer.  But that’s a given.

You are a fundraising whiz! Any tips on that you can share?

Since this is my first-year fundraising, the big lesson I have learned so far, (and am still working on) is to not be scared to ask for donations.  The amount of people that have donated — time, money, raffle items, and more — has been incredible and I did not expect it.  I learned to start early with asking for donations if you have a fundraising event.  I have a good list of places I will be hitting up early next year!

What are your tips for some first time Muckers?

Tie your shoes super tight or duct tape them on, or they might get sucked off in the mud!

Why is this run so important, especially to you?

To show others, especially those that have been recently diagnosed, that this disease not define you and what you are capable of.  When I was first diagnosed and reading about all the symptoms and disabilities that could “possibly” happen, it was overwhelming and scary.  When I went to my first run and saw how many people had the same I Muck with MS Bandanna on that I did, it was a relief to me to know that I was not alone and fun things will not come to an end just because I have this disease.  It is also super important to me that the money goes towards research.  It is because of the research that there are many treatment options now. I was able to find a disease-modifying therapy that works for me, versus 20 years ago when there was barely anything.  I am hopeful that there will be a cure in this lifetime!

MuckFest MS Ⓡ is an experience unlike any other. How many other 5Ks have you zip-lining into a pool, or crawling over muddy hills, or slip-sliding down a man-made mountain? With such a one-of-a-kind day ahead, you need to make the most of every moment. Alana has been has been running has been running MuckFest MS Detroit since 2016, and is a two-time captain of team Mucking A’s. She’s also been fundraising for MuckFest MS before she was able to run! So she knows her muckin’ stuff. We talked to her about the best ways to make the most of the muck, and she had some great tips…

Find your inspiration

Some people love OCRs. Others join MuckFest MS to try a new kind of 5K. Some just love getting dirty! But many of our muckers have a personal connection to the cause. Whatever your motivation for joining MuckFest MS, keep it in mind as you train, fundraise and grow your team.

Alana found her motivation years ago in her brother.

“Around 15 years ago, my brother was diagnosed with MS while he was studying at MSU, and I was still in high school. I remember going with him to his initial treatments and supporting him while he took a semester off of school. While he has been in remission since that initial diagnosis, I sincerely hope that the money I raise will help to find a cure and assist those who have not been as fortunate with the disease.”

Have your outfit ready!

Alana starts prepping for the muck with a great outfit that is sure to stand out in photos!

“Beforehand, I design t-shirts for the team. I enjoy getting to the starting line and being recognized for Mucking A’s fundraising efforts. I look forward to obstacles like Spill Hill and Flying Muckers. Afterwards, I love seeing the pictures.”

This year, she even found “pair of orange sunglasses and have shoes with orange accents that will perfect my MuckFest look.”

Prepare for the big day!

Alana has some simple tips for first-time (and even veteran) Muckers that will make race day so much easier.

  1. I bring sunscreen to use before the run, and a towel, hair brush, and deodorant for afterward.
  2. You’ll have a new shirt, but bring clean bottoms, underwear, and shoes to change into.
  3. Wear clothing and shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy, or that you plan to get rid of.
  4. Bring a plastic bag to put wet clothes in after you change if you want to keep them.
  5. If you want to wear sunglasses, make sure you don’t wear your best pair as they can get lost in the mud.
  6. Bring some cash or card for some muck gear or food!
  7. Don’t be nervous at all, because everyone is so supportive.

Enjoy the obstacles!

What truly sets MuckFest MS apart in the world of 5Ks are the truly unique and exciting obstacles. Everyone has a favorite, and Alana loves the balance of having a lot of fun while also conquering some fears.

“I had a very ‘cherished’ moment getting hit with a Big Ball last year. I also enjoy the Swing Set because it’s a lot of fun, and you can rinse and cool off a bit. They also take great pictures there!

I do get nervous with Spider Web and Mt. Muck-imanjaro though. I’m not a big fan of heights, so these are obstacles with both where I end up conquering those fears while still having a good time.”

Muddy fun. Great photos. Fears conquered. All benefiting a great cause. There is so much to love about MuckFest MS!

How do you make the most of your Muck? Tell us in the comments!

For many, MuckFest MS® is a place to find support in their battle with MS. For Megan P., it was also her opportunity to reveal that she was diagnosed with MS at 19 and has been battling it for more than two decades. Signing up MuckFest MS Denver was her first step toward sharing that she has been living with multiple sclerosis.

“This is the first time I’ve talked about having MS in a public way. I am someone that people see as very energetic! But, I was just was re-diagnosed to progressive MS. I previously had been relapsing. So, that is why my team stepped up to do this with me. I was really pumped when I saw that MuckFest talked about backing research for progressive MS.”

She and her teammates are coming from all across the country to participate in MuckFest MS Denver. New muckers will be coming in from Atlanta (Meg’s current home city), plus Arkansas, North Carolina, Oregon and Arizona. Her team consists of family, friends, and her coworkers from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. As a Colorado native originally, she is excited to “bring lots of outsiders to Denver!”

She is also ready to share her story of living with MS.

“I posted it on my Facebook page that I was doing this event and why, and I realized that so many people didn’t know about my diagnosis. I didn’t know I had to make an announcement, but this was how a lot of people found out. The support and donations have been great since then.

“One of the things you always worry about with MS is movement, so this is a big step for me to do a race like this. Two things I love are motion and fun. To experience both, while supporting a cause that’s very near and dear to me…It’s going to be amazing!”

She has been prepping to get moving with a little bit of CrossFit and some rowing, and thinks that her past as a snowboarder will help! Still, she’s most nervous about balancing on the Shake & Quake and will be relying on her teammates for help. She is the most pumped to try Swing Set!

“Part of my job is teaching people to have fun with kids. I get to act like a kid on MuckFest MS, and get to watch other people doing this really playful thing. Also, I’m raising money for this cause. I’ll be surrounded by people who will have raised money that can help me.”

With the support of her friends and family, Meg is ready to take on the muck.

Chicago, you were amazing! Check out these sneak peeks of MuckFest® MS Chicago!

Participant photos are available here!

Cheers to the Windy City! You’re muckin’ awesome!

If you have trouble accessing your Participant Photos, please email support@sweatworks.net.

MuckFest MS Chicago is this weekend, and if you happen to see a team in bright tie dye t-shirts, you can bet it’s team “MARCHING ON.” Led by captain Cathy S., she is certainly a Mucker on a Mission. After receiving her own diagnosis almost a decade ago, she has been marching on and never giving up. She’s hoping her Muck story will inspire others to get down and dirty in the mud.

Tell us your Muck story…

I was diagnosed with MS in 2008. I had my symptoms a lot longer as I am sure many other people have before they were diagnosed. I started my team “Marching On” in 2014 with only six people. I created a Facebook page called MuckFest MS “Marching On.” Our friends, family, and other people living with MS follow the page and know that we are doing this for them. In 2015 and 2016 my team grew and we LOVED Mucking.

This year we have 20 people on the team. This is the biggest team I had yet. This is also the most I have raised this year so far.

I named it “Marching On” because that was the year I decided I was going to march on in life with MS and that MS no longer controlled my life.

MuckFest MS has 18 obstacles! Tell us about your favorites!

The obstacle I am most proud of conquering is the Spider Web, because I am afraid of heights, and I had so much anxiety on that one. I didn’t do it the first year because of that.

My favorite obstacle would be the Swing Set because I can get a chance to wash off some of the mud. LOL. I think I am most excited this year because I wasn’t able to make it last year and this year my team is bigger than ever.

What advice do you have for first-time Muckers?

The BEST ADVICE I could give you is to tape your shoes on. And wear knee pads for everyone and maybe elbow pads for people with delicate skin.

I also LOVE The Lil’ Muckers Area! Stop by that area! My daughter really thought she was making a difference by doing her part as a Lil’ Mucker. This is the first year she is mucking it with our team and she is really excited!

Why do you continue to Muck?

I love Muckfest MS because, first of all, it is fundraising for MS. And it raises awareness for MS. Oh, and it is FUN! And did I say that it is for people with all types of physical activity levels?! You can crawl, walk, jog, run, you can even walk around obstacles if you feel like you don’t want to do it. It’s okay! Most of all, it is FUN!

I LOVE THE TEAMWORK! If you don’t have a team and are looking for one that has all types of people you can feel free to join mine. We help each other. Some people do run through and run back to check on us but we ALWAYS CROSS THE FINISH LINE TOGETHER!

Friends are the family we choose. Leslie L, a Chicago Mucker, chose Ron as her family, and she supported him through his battle with MS that lasted for almost his entire life. Leslie founded team Ron’s Muddy Buddies in Chicago two years ago, and has raised more than $2,000 this year alone for MuckFest MS and the National MS Society. She visited with him weekly, and still calls Ron “Superman,” saying his “positive attitude and fighting spirit should be an inspiration to all.”

Sadly, this past June, Ron’s battle with MS ended when he passed away, and now Leslie runs in his honor.

She says, “I want to continue the fight against this horrible disease in his name. I hope to see a cure for MS in my lifetime, so others don’t have to go through all he went through.”

In her own words, Leslie told us more about Ron’s strength…

My friend Ron had been living with this debilitating disease for 33 years. He was diagnosed at the age of 16 after having vision issues and tripping and falling during football practice. Less than a year later, he was in a wheelchair. MS didn’t stop Ron from achieving his goals … graduating high school and college, becoming a CPA, and working as an accountant for Motorola for over 16 years, where he was promoted four times and received awards for his work. His condition continued to worsen as he lost the use of his arms and had to work with a voice activated computer. He eventually had to stop working when his speech became difficult for the computer to recognize.

Ron always felt blessed to have wonderful family and friends who supported him throughout his life and all of his challenges. MS increased his challenges, but it never broke his positive attitude, perseverance or strength.

Ron always said, “You have to play the hand you were dealt in life. I think my hand is pretty good. I would put it up against anyone’s. If we were playing a game of five card stud, my first card would be loving family and friends. My second card would be determination. My third card would be intelligence. My fourth card would be a good sense of humor. My fifth card would be Multiple Sclerosis (MS). While some may think that last card I was dealt was a bad thing, it has made me the person I am today.”

I’ve watched Ron battle MS since his teens. It took away his ability to move his body and eat and left him with impaired vision and speech. But his brilliant mind, huge heart, winning smile and fighting spirit always remained intact. ❤

While he may not have be able to move a muscle on his own, he was the strongest person I know. 💪

“Nobody knows that I have MS. Nobody would look at me and know, so I don’t go up to people and tell them. So, MuckFest MS was a great way to let everyone in, to bring everyone together.”

Kristen M. from Chicago was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 19, right in the middle of her years as a college athlete in field hockey. Doctors initially told her that she couldn’t play her sport anymore, but she kept going. Eventually she found the right doctor for her, and started shots and treatments multiple times a week. But she kept playing. She played all four years of field hockey, and has never let MS slow her down since.

It should be no surprise then, that when Kristen and her family committed to MuckFest MS in Chicago in 2017, they went full force.

“We had about 70 people, including kids, family and friends who all came together. My family came in from South Carolina, Wisconsin and California. Everybody had matching tee shirts and had a ton of fun!”

Her husband Chris rented two school buses to shuttle their enormous team to and from the event, and the whole group met at Kristen and Chris’s home for breakfast beforehand. He also paid for their entire team’s registration fees.

Says Kristen, “That was huge! Chris is a big supporter of the National MS Society and wanted our team members to be able to focus on collecting donations.”

Talk about a committed family! With Chris setting that example, Kristen said her family reached out to anyone and everyone to be a part of their team: the Mother’s Muckers.

“I have friends that don’t run at all and can’t stand running that did it. Friends that just had babies that did it. Our parents did it. Anyone of any age can do it! One of my friends who I work out with, he was helping people get up the ladders and the ropes and helping them do it step by step. Everyone was working together!

If you can’t do all of it, just start with one obstacle. Just getting out there and crossing the start line and getting a little muddy… you’ll be good to go!”

Kristen is ready to go for this year’s Chicago MuckFest MS, which is coming up fast! She is especially looking forward to the Flying Muckers zip line, and to adding even more members to their team. One new team member is her eldest daughter Caroline. She is the first of Kristen and Chris’s kids to be old enough to run, but Kristen says the rest of the family (Eleanor who is 4.5 years old, Anna who is 6 and Claire who is 9) can’t wait to join the Mother Muckers in future years, too.

“”I have four girls and they love being dirty, so this is a perfect event for them! They’re always dirty anyway, so this time we’re all dirty together!”

That is the best part of MuckFest MS for Kristen; being surrounded by her family and friends. And that really includes everyone in the muck!

“It’s nice to know that you have that support. Everyone is out there for the same cause and to make a difference. That’s huge.”

If you see the Mother’s Muckers in Chicago (and how could you miss them?!) give them a high five and shout out! They want to see lots of Windy City muckers!

Kristen encourages, “Do it with a group. Do it with all your friends. You see people you would never think would get dirty, and you see them down in the mud.”

Kristen, we’ll see you there. 🙂

Detroit, you were amazing! Check out these sneak peeks of MuckFest® MS Detroit!

Participant photos are here as well!

Cheers, Detroit! You’re muckin’ awesome!

If you have trouble accessing your Participant Photos, please email support@sweatworks.net.

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Michigan, we are heading your way this weekend! MuckFest MS © is hitting The Great Lakes State for our first Midwest Muck on Saturday, and our Detroit Muckers are ready! We chatted with Kandace W. from “Team No MSing Around!” about her favorite obstacles, how MuckFest MS helps her enjoy every moment, and why everyone should get a little muddy.

What is your favorite thing about MuckFest MS?

The atmosphere.  The feeling of support.

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And of course we love the connection to the National MS Society as well!

I am grateful for the National MS Society for many reasons!  It has helped me understand versions of myself, and others, who are directly, and indirectly, touched by MS.  I have been able to direct folks to the site for educational and social opportunities, research updates and support.

What’s your favorite obstacle?

I’m a little torn! It is between Slippy Sloppy and Walk on Water.  Each of them freak me out a little but are ultra fun to complete! They both also happen to be obstacles where you are able to witness participants cheer one another on; yelling encouraging words and erupting loudly when someone who doubted their ability to make it across does so.

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Tell us about your team!

Team No MSing Around! is comprised of family. My husband, brother, my mom in law, a couple bffs, an uncle and some coworkers are the core group of our team. We just double dog dare people, regardless of ability or affiliation, to come have a fun time with us!  We have been blessed to have a great network of cheerleaders come and support us, too.  They are in on the shenanigans, but just stay cleaner.

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If you had to give someone ONE tip about fundraising, what would it be?

ASK! ASK! ASK!  I have been surprised by the folks who have come out in financial support of the National MS Society because I happened to ask.  Some individuals I assumed would donate nothing have shocked me and have given hundreds.  Others lovingly pledge smaller amounts, which all add up! Don’t beat people over the wallet, but give them the opportunity to consider a cause that means something to you.

Some people are worried that MuckFest MS would be too difficult… what would you say to them?

C’mon!  There are literally hundreds of friendly folks out there who are willing to help you.  If something intimidates you a little too much, you can even bypass that obstacle — just encourage someone else during your walk :).

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Why do you Muck?

I Muck it with MS because I am blessed to get mucky for my sisters and brothers who are not able to physically participate.

How can other Muckers recruit people to their team?

Brag it up! I am excited about participating and I think that enthusiasm is felt by those around me. The older we get, the options for being just plain silly can escape us.  So why not raise money and awareness for a GREAT, personal cause and play around in mud at the same time?

I run across many who are skeptical of their ability to finish a 5K. Team No MSing Around! sticks together and happily takes walking breaks! We all finish and celebrate that victory as a unit. Besides, if the person with a chronic neurological diagnosis can participate — many others can too!

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What’s the energy like at MuckFest MS?

Happily insane.  You have grown ups from many walks of life playing around in mud. That’s the backdrop of a silly time. It proves itself to be a loud, bright, supportive and non-competitive atmosphere. People of other teams cheering strangers on, providing tips for completion or a literal helping hand; it just feels like a society I want to exist in.  There are some great folks who happen to have MS volunteering, participating, cheering and feeling the love from the crowd. It’s like a big (muddy) hug.

How has MuckFest MS affected your day-to-day life?

Participating in MuckFest MS reminds me to enjoy the moment, learn from others, not to take life too seriously, and to encourage individuals who are different (and the same) as me.

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