Muddy and luv it: Festival expands to include night race

The organizers of LUVMUD call it “a 5K for people who don’t like 5Ks.” The race course contains mud and obstacles for added messy fun.

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The organizers of LUVMUD call it “a 5K for people who don’t like 5Ks.” The race course contains mud and obstacles for added messy fun.

Some say there's nothing new under the sun. Maybe, but there's something new this weekend under the stars.

The annual Luvmud 5K race benefiting Habitat for Hope is adding a nocturnal component to the Shelby Farms event they're calling Luvglo, with just as much fun and mud as the daylight version but promising a glow-in-the-dark sensibility.

"We're always determined to do something different," says Mark Horrocks, co-founder of Habitat for Hope and Luvmud. "And this fall we wanted to do a night race."

Luvglo participants will come out around 8 p.m. Saturday to view the lighting of hot air balloons, watch stilt-walkers, listen to deejays and live music before the race starts at 11 p.m. "We'll provide glow-in-the-dark paint, and people can paint their clothes and hair or whatever. The race will be through the park, and instead of finishing at a 60-foot line in a mud pit, they'll finish at a 30-foot long glow-in-the-dark water pit, lit up by black lights."

The Luvmud festival opens up hours earlier, though, at 11 a.m. Saturday with the third annual running of the mudders at Shelby Farms. There will be another round of races on Sunday starting at 2 p.m.

The first event drew about 800 runners, and last year's attracted 1,200 runners and another 3,000 visitors. A one-day version of the race in June on Mud Island drew about 1,700 runners, Horrocks says.

He's planning for 2,000 runners and up to 5,000 visitors for this weekend. And that's rain or shine, and the organizers prefer the rain, which always makes the event even more interesting.

Habitat for Hope is a support organization for families who have a child with a critical, chronic or terminal illness and who come to the Mid-South for treatment. "We provide practical, emotional and spiritual support," he says, "and we work with local families to provide that support."

Luvmud and Luvglo

Saturday and Sunday at Shelby Farms Park. For information about the races, rules and costs, which vary according to the event and how many are on a team, and a schedule of events, go to luvmud.com, or call 1-855-ILUVMUD. Overnight camping available.

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