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Fourth annual 5K event at Wooden Shoe attracts hundreds to close out the summer

JUSTIN MUCH - More than 200 participants raced through the 3.1-mile course that pit racers through ponds, irrigation pipes, culverts, trenches and other obstacles.
It would be difficult to find a messier mix of smiles than there were at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm on the last day of summer.

Some 40 minutes after the slated start of the Mud, Sweat and Beers Run, 170 participants had set out over a wet, filthy and challenging course, while a few were trickling in over a finish line that conveniently fed directly into the beer garden.

Still a few more were stragglers were signing up as the stuttered start times were scattered between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., issuing flights of between 4 and 10 runners at each start, finishing with 211 total participants.

Saturday's edition marked the 4th annual 5k event over a unique course that makes a steeplechase look tame, taking "runners" through ponds, across irrigation pipes, through narrow culverts, over a webbed-rope obstacle, through a trench of knee-deep water and even down a water slide – 12 total obstacles along the 3.1 mile route.

Many participants ran in teams, some ran individually and at least one brought her canine pal along for the fun. As a reward for their soiled toils, finishers were treated with a setting of live music from Portland's "Papa Smoke," cold beverages and a variety of fine dishes.

Volunteers who pitched in to ensure a successful event included Chemeketa students and the Woodburn High School football team.

"It was an awesome day," said John Zobrist, immediate past president of the Woodburn Rotary, the event's sponsor. "Events like this are literally why I joined the Rotary...This is our signature fundraising event."

There are benefits beyond the fun; Zobrist said the roughly $30k Rotary has raised affords "a ton of good things." He itemized a few recent Rotary-backed contributions, including a new scoreboard at the high school, replanted trees in the park near the Woodburn Public Library and a jaws-of-life tool for Hubbard Fire.

True to its name, the event also contributed a fun-filled outing with a ton of grimy smiles in the Monitor countryside.

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