The mudder of all races

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Members of Temple B’nai Shalom’s Team Shvitz & Shmutz designed their own shirts in preparation for the Saturday Run Amuck race.
Members of Temple B’nai Shalom’s Team Shvitz & Shmutz designed their own shirts in preparation for the Saturday Run Amuck race.

by Suzanne Pollak
Staff Writer

What better way to bond with fellow synagogue members then by running through mud, dodging a hippity hop wrecking ball gauntlet and hitting the slip n’ slide together?


That’s what 18, mostly men’s club members, at Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax will be doing on Saturday as part of the Marine Corps Marathon’s muddiest event, Run Amuck.

Along with 3,000 other runners, team Shvitz & Shmutz will be sloshing through 3.5 miles of mud and obstacles through the Quantico hills and trails.

“We always talked about doing it, but we never got around to it,” said congregant Noah Nathan. He said the group of runners range in experience from never having run a race to a few, including Nathan, who have run a marathon.

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“We have a bunch of people that this is their first race,” he said.

While most of the runners joined as part of a men’s club event, other runners include their spouses and children, Nathan said. They range in age from 12 to 55 years.


They aren’t practicing together, and as far as Nathan knows, are only working to get in shape but not doing anything special to deal with all the mud and obstacles.

They originally wanted to be called Dirty Jews, but were talked out of it when someone pointed out that people in the crowd might just call them by their team name, which might not necessarily be taken in the right spirit. They then switched to Shvitz and Shmutz, removing the letter c so they wouldn’t be mistaken for schmucks, he explained.

According to the Marine Corps Marathon website, “participants will be a complete mess” by the time they finish tackling all the giant mud challenges.

Bentonite clay is being added to the local mud, since when mixed with mud and water, it “adheres to the skin and to clothing, much like taking a mud bath,” according to a statement by the Marine Corps.

There are 21 challenges, including an inflatable obstacle course right at the start, multiple hurdles, three mud pits and a fire truck downpour along with the usual Marine Corps training obstacles.

“It’s just fun, especially since none of us have mud run before,” Nathan said.

Let’s just hope he feels the same way Saturday evening.

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