SPORTS

MuckFest raises money for MS research and services

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

MuckFest MS is a mud obstacle run featuring 18 obstacles. It’s the event’s seventh year, and the 7th time in New Jersey.

“We have an MC that travels with the event named MC Al. He gets everybody muddy before it even starts,” Jim Hennessey, director of consumer marketing at Event 360, said.

One of the obstacles on the course is a swing set.

“You just swing and project yourself and then jump. You don’t have to catch that rope but it’s there to help you climb up. It’s about 12 feet deep,” Hennessey said.

Nationally, in the seven years of the series, it just hit the $30 million mark in fundraising.

“All the money that’s raised goes to the national MS society to help in research and services for people living with multiple sclerosis,” said Hennessey.

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that affects the central nervous system.

“If you think about that your nervous system is attached to everything so it can cause issues with walking. It can cause fatigue or cognition problems. It can cause numbness and tingling,” said Lisa Gallipoli, president of the New Jersey Metro Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  “I think every person living with MS thinks this is a great event because it brings together individuals who might not know about the disease to learn more about it.”

Hennessey says the obstacle course is a great way to demonstrate some of the challenges those with MS have with things like balance, coordination and being able to overcome obstacles in their daily life.

It’s a 5k course. If you’re an actual runner it can take you as little as 45 minutes, but it’s designed for anybody, even those who want to walk or help their friends.

“Some people like to show off and do flips and things like that. I hold on for dear life because I don’t want to end up in the water,” Hennessey said.

Gallipoli said they anticipate having over 300 individuals living with MS mucking side by side with their family and friends Saturday.

“They’ll be wearing teal bandanas that say ‘I muck with MS’ and it’s just a way for us to recognize them,” Gallipoli said.

“That’s probably my favorite part of the event,” Hennessey said. “Because one, seeing them having the determination to do it, but others around them helping them through. It’s a sense of accomplishment.”

It’s about providing support and connections to individuals living with MS.

“We anticipate raising over $300,000 just through the 3,000 participants who will be mucking with us tomorrow,” Gallipoli said.

“Traditionally everybody who finishes, it’s adult-themed fun, usually gets a free beer. You can’t do that at a church so everybody here gets a free root beer float,” Hennessey said.

After New Jersey, the race moves to Detroit, Chicago, Denver and Dallas.