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Dirty Lion 5K Mud Run pushes runners to the limit

It was the road through hell! When the dust finally settled, there were 233 men, women, and children covered from the top of their heads to the bottom of their feet in mud, tears, bugs, blood, and sweat. On Saturday, at the Dirty Lion 5K Mud Run and 1 Mile Leo Run, waves of endurance enthusiasts ranging from the curious novice to the ultimate warrior tested their athleticism against nature’s best.

In the end, the bragging rights to the annual obstacle fest rested on the shoulders of women’s overall winner Alice Pallotti, and men’s overall winner, Grant Callahan. Thirty-six-year-old King George resident, Pallotti finished the grueling course in 49:19, while 33-year-old and fellow King George resident, Callahan had the top time of 31:29.

The course, created by the event’s sponsor, the Dahlgren Lions Club, is a mosaic of frustration, and perspiration. YMCA Wellness director, and Mud Run coordinator Gary Roach and his fellow Lions Club members spent a week at Eagle Bay, engineering, developing and carving through the forest to make the course a runner’s worst nightmare. “It’s a long, and torturous beast,” Roach said. “People who are fortunate to accomplish it will say, ‘Man I will tell all my friends that next year, it’s going to be double or triple as bad.’ Some of the obstacles may be too much for you or me, but not too much for the real athlete.”

The 3.1 mile course was comprised of an open field, where runners ran under a series of obstacles before encountering the Potomac River. After a run-in with the river, they circled a pole, a dirt pile, and two eight-foot walls. From there, they ran 100 yards when they came face-to-face with the stairway-to-heaven obstacle, which was equivalent to a swing-set, covered with wooden boards. Amid the exhaustion ahead of them, runners encountered hay bales, a mud hole, and a tire run, before departing into two and a half miles of moto-cross terrain.

“When you get into the woods, as far as the adults go, the trail is so hard that it’s going to be an obstacle getting through it,” Roach said. “When they come out of the woods and see each other, they are going to feel like they are fulfilled.”

Runners that were still on their feet would see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel in the form of trail flaggers directing them to the final destination. However, before finishing the run, intrepid runners would have to forge through a long mud pit filled with stagnant water.

As for the 1 Mile Leo Run overall winners, 13-year-old, and Stafford resident Sarah Sabal was the girls’ winner, while 11-year-old Ethan Goldberg claimed the boys’ medal. Sabal finished the course in 21.02, while Goldberg notched out a top time of 19.56.

Individual race category winners can found at www.racetimingunlimited.org.

All proceeds raised were given directly to the Dahlgren Lions Club, where the money is funneled back into the community in the form of charitable outreach.  

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