WATERVILLE — Runners clad in neon and spandex crawled through muddy culverts, flipped five tires, scrambled across a set of monkey bars and more at the third annual Dirty Dog Mud Run held Sunday morning at Thomas College.

The 5K run looped around the college campus and included 15 obstacles to test runners’ strength and give them a chance to get muddied up for spring.

A record of about 630 people pre-registered for the event this year, according to MacKenzie Riley, the assistant director of media relations. About 500 people raced last year, and 300 people raced the first year.

This was also the second year with a separate kid-friendly obstacle course. About 50 children up through age 10 had signed up for that event, held at noon, Riley said.

“It’s really, really grown,” she said.

The event drew sports teams, fitness groups, families, central Mainers, New Englanders and casual runners. It was sponsored by the Central Maine Motors Auto Group, and New Balance sponsored the Dirty Pup Mud Run for children.

The Thomas College women’s soccer team signed up for a bonding experience. This was the first time that Devynn Turner, 19, Amelia Kelby, 18, and Emily Dufour, 20, had entered the muddy challenge.

Kelby said the idea of running through the mud and obstacles was “kind of nerve-wracking,” but Turner said they were all “just gonna go for it” as a team.

All of the proceeds from the race go the Recreation Department at Thomas College.

“Really, the ultimate goal is to provide more opportunities for Thomas students,” said Jim Delorie, director of the department.

Thomas College student Jarrod Ottman, 18, was the first person to finish the race in the competitive heat.

Bethany Mayo, the first woman to cross the finish line in the competitive heat, came up from New Hampshire for the race.

Mayo, 32, is originally from Maine, so she decided to come back for the event to visit.

After she crossed the finish line, she felt great, she said, but “it was tough.”

“I’m glad that there wasn’t too much water, because it was like 35 degrees this morning,” she said.

Those who placed in the race won wooden plaques in the shape of dog bones, which were custom-made by Dana Jordan, who works in the maintenance department at the college.

Tammy Sideliner, of Augusta, participated in the race for the second year because she likes the challenge, she said.

“It’s pretty intense,” she said. “It’s a good energy, a good feeling.”

Delorie first started working on creating a 5K race at the college in January 2015. After talking with college President Laurie Lachance about the races he participates in, she said he should organize something similar on the campus.

The planning moved quickly, developing from idea to the first race in the same year.

Delorie chose to incorporate obstacles and mud into the course to make the race unique for central Maine.

“People come up from New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut for this,” he said. “It’s not a tough mudder or a Spartan race you see on T.V. It’s a family-friendly version of that.”

He knows the event is successful, he said, because runners keep coming back to it.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

filed under: