DAYTON — Pages cover the desk of Mike Betts, a runner and the marketing and events coordinator for the town of Dayton, and they’re all about one thing — the Dayton Muddler.
On Aug. 3, the town will be hosting its eighth Dayton Muddler — a 4-mile adventure race where participants will traverse mud, obstacles and even brain exercises around the small Shenandoah Valley town.
Betts is expecting between 1,000 and 1,200 people — not a bad showing to an event that drew just shy of 1,200 participants in 2018.
The event will have its second half-marathon, which begins at 7:30 a.m., and will also feature a youth division and “corporate cup” race where participants from a business can compete as a team.
This year, the course will feature more than 35 activities and five new obstacles.
Many of these obstacles can be seen around Dayton already as the setup is underway, Betts said.
“You cannot not see it,” he said.
To some, running 4 miles around Dayton and getting muddy may not be the ideal Saturday morning, but Betts said there is something special about the run.
“The appeal is the actual excitement, challenge and mental [and] physical exhaustion that you will experience getting muddy,” he said.
Proceeds from the event go to Boulder Crest Retreat, an organization that works to improve the mental, physical, emotional and economic well-being of military veterans and first responders, located in Bluemont.
The event also still needs volunteers for a variety of jobs.
“We can never have enough volunteers,” Betts said.
Volunteers encouraging runners has an indelible effect on the runners during the Muddler, he said.
Betts has run 11 marathons and two “ultra distances” — races even longer than marathons — and remembered how encouragement, even from people he didn’t know, helped him to cross the finish line.
“I can close my eyes and remember when a stranger called my name to keep on going,” he said.
But with the Muddler, participants can always remember their effort is helping a good cause, Betts said.
“The muddier and more exhausted you are, the more you get out of it,” he said.