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Finns dish dirt in mud running competition

Hundreds of mud-lovers will gather in Poroholma, Rauma in southwest Finland next month for the world "mud running" championships. Winners will be announced -- and others will bite the dust.

Jalat syvällä suossa
Competitors could end up knee deep in the sticky stuff during the mud running world championships next month. Image: Minna Heikura / Yle

According to Markus Niemelä, one of the men behind the mud mania, there's a small group of oddball enthusiasts who specifically target offbeat sporting events such as the mud run.

"I spent six years in the United States and I've been running there. I have a few friends who seriously make the rounds of these competitions," he explained.

The Poroholma area is ideal for a contest of this kind, as it provides extravagant amounts of the key material required for the sport. Other amenities such as accomodation, washing-up facilities and restaurant services are also close at hand.

The competition itself is divided into two segments: the competitive side for serious mud mashers; and the fun run for those inclined to see the lighter side of the sport.

Good-natured sport

So far about 500 competitors have signed up to vie for the title of King of Queen of the Mud. Niemelä believes that number could reach 700 or 800.

"The competition itself is not demanding. Anyone can complete the course. The fun run also features an obstacle course that includes foam barriers and slides," Niemelä previewed.

The mud runner stressed that the event is mostly about good natured fun and exercise. However participants with a more competitive bent can dig in their heels if they wish.

"If I can delegate some of the work during the day, I will definitely tackle the course myself. And I hope to challenge myself - down to the last splash of mud," Niemelä declared.

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