Have you ever run a 5K? Have you run a fun run? How about a mud run? The chances are pretty good in 2016 most of us have either run one of the above races or at least been strongly tempted to. Runs and races seem to be everywhere we look. There’s something for everyone super competitive, messy, colorful, easy, tough, glow in the dark, and the list goes on. But where did it all start? When did beating the pavement become as trendy as skinny jeans for men?
Back in 2009, our founder Jeff Eckart, was just beginning the journey of nurturing a newly born non-profit. As he sought advice from a variety of people, he stumbled upon something that was also in it’s infancy, obstacle course racing. While in San Diego, he learned about this new phenomenon that would soon sweep the nation. As with everything he learned, he brought this idea back to Grand Rapids, MI and in 2010, the Grand Rapids Mud Run was born.
Jeff and his team didn’t know what to expect, they hadn’t seen a mud run, they didn’t know what people would like or dislike, they didn’t know if anyone would even show up! In true Never The Same fashion, they pressed on with faith in the idea God had given Jeff back in San Diego. Up until this point, Never The Same hadn’t done any true fundraisers per se. This would be the first large event fundraiser for the organization.
Hoping for a thousand runners and expecting 500 in 2010, the team joined in prayer for the event. When the August race day rolled around, God didn’t disappoint, He astounded. There weren’t a thousand runners, there were 2200! The event was a complete success and it kick-started the young organization.
The Grand Rapids Mud Run was the first mud run in Michigan and among the very first of it’s kind. Warrior Dash started in 2009, Tough Mudder began in 2010, the Color Run didn’t start until 2011. Being on the cutting edge of something that’s experienced such rapid growth has given the GRMR the ability to stand the test of time. Over the last seven years there have been thousands of races that popped up and quickly gone away, others have caught on become competitors. Through it all, God has shown favor to the GRMR.
As 2016 progresses, we get closer to this year’s Grand Rapids Mud Run. This race is still a fundraiser that’s a huge part of how the organization functions. We have seen a lot of change over the years and this year is no different. I (Kyle Wood) have stepped into the role of race director. We have redesigned our course. We have overhauled our marketing. And we are bringing it into your view!
If you love what Never The Same does and want to support the work we do while having a muddy good time, head over to GrandRapidsMudRun.com and get registered! We’ll see you August 27th.