Down and dirty
More than 550 women ages 13 and older participated in the July 28 LoziLu Women’s Mud Run at All Seasons Apple Orchard located on Route 176 in Woodstock. Though women must be 13 or older to participate, there is no upper age limit when it comes to a LoziLu race.
“My mother did it, and she’s 60,” said LoziLu Women’s Mud Run founder Francis Donovan.
Founded in 2011, LoziLu was the creation of two sets of athletic-loving couples who met at University of Wisconsin Triathlon Team events. They decided to create a program which would provide accessible fitness for a wide variety of people.
“We looked at the fun mud runs could offer – a mud run is much more fun that a typical 5K,” said Donovan.
The weather was perfect for the seventh mud run hosted by the organization.
The LoziLu team chose Woodstock as the Chicago area location because All Seasons Apple Orchard was spacious enough to host the race. Plus, it had the added benefit of being picturesque.
Women registered solo or in groups and were each given a goody bag before taking off on the course.
The course included 10 to 12 optional obstacles, hydration aid stations and music. At the end of the race, participants received a complimentary glass of beer or wine and had the opportunity to purchase additional food and drinks or relax and pamper themselves.
A portion of proceeds from the mud run were donated to the L.I.F.E (Leukemia Ironman Fundraiser for Eric) foundation, which provides funding research, effective treatments, bucket-list assistance and scholarship programs to help cancer patients lead happier lives.
Women traveled to the Woodstock event from near and far and a few of The Independent’s own staffers joined in.
Administrative Assistant Sandy Kucharski said she really enjoyed the race.
“I loved it. I thought it was great. It was a chance to act like a little kid, and I like to get muddy,” she said.
“Just accomplishing it and completing the challenge felt good. [The race] brings everybody together, and it’s a good show of team spirit.”
Kucharski also liked that the race wasn’t timed and there was a good mix of women, especially within the 14-member group she joined, which included The Independent’s sales rep, Jennifer Wilson.
“It was fun to jump through the mud,” said Wilson.
“I especially loved when Sandy splashed me at the end, she totally doused me with the mud.”
Kucharski showed no shame as she admitted to the dirty deed.
“I told Jen she wasn’t muddy enough,” she said.
For 2013, the team at LoziLu hopes to hold between 12 and 14 mud runs nationally. Donovan said All Seasons Apple Orchard was excited to play host and invited the mud run group back for 2013.
Eddie Hong, manager at the orchard, said the race went very smoothly and all involved did a great job organizing the event. While women ran in the race, family members and friends explored the park area, feasted on food the apple orchard provided and took advantage of activities like the mini zip line.
The race differs from other 5K’s in the sense that it was a little more low-key, comfortable,” said Hong. “There were a lot of spectators, and as our venue is unique, it kept everyone busy.”
Donovan emphasized the fact LoziLu helps spark interest in making healthy lifestyle changes and is an opportunity for women of any fitness background or level to participate. Women don’t have to be marathon runners to participate.
“LoziLu eliminates the barrier of judgment and encourages women to say ‘Let’s just get out there and have fun,’” he said.
To learn more and to stay up-to-date on upcoming races, visit www.lozilu.com.