By Alicia Dziak

Who can resist acting like a kid again and splashing around in the mud? Incorporate some good old-fashioned running and you’re actually doing something healthy in addition to having a blast! Join hundreds of other fun-loving Western New Yorkers on June 14 as Holiday Valley transforms itself into a muddy haven.

The third annual Holiday Valley Mudslide is an obstacle run, and participants can choose from two distances — 3.5 miles or 5.4 miles.

Both courses begin by Spruce Lake — and runners can mentally prepare as they ride up the Spruce chairlift to the course start. The 3.5-mile course goes from Spruce Lake, across the cross-country trails then heads downhill toward the finish. The route encompasses several trails, including Eagle, Woodstock, Explorer, Morning Star, Mardi Gras, Holiday Run and Edelweiss and Yodeler.

The 5.4-mile course adds a loop and some steep uphill climbs — ropes have even been installed this year to help runners up!

Of course, 11 unique and challenging obstacles are interspersed.

“Lily Pads are overturned tubes from the tubing park that are hooked together and anchored in the beach end of Spruce Lake,” explained Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley’s marketing manager.  “You have to run (or crawl) across and try not to slip in! The final obstacle is the mudslide at the bottom of Yodeler basically a giant slip ‘n slide into a giant mud puddle!”

In addition to some past-year favorites, there will be some new obstacles too, being kept a secret until race day!

“The goal of our race is fun — not torture — so it is relatively easy, and mostly downhill,” said Eshbaugh. “We get a lot of first-time racers, families and kids, and there is a fun and laid back party at the finish for racers and families.”

Kids as young as 7 years old are welcome to run in the 3.5- or 5.4-mile races. In addition, a special Kids’ Mini Mudslide will take place in the afternoon, which is a 1/2-mile run with two obstacles and a mudslide at the end. Registration for the kids’ race is $5 and available race day at Yodeler Lodge.

“This is a race for anyone that can run 3-5 miles,” said Michelle Solly, of Colden, who has participated in the Mudslide in past years. “It’s a little more challenging that other races because it’s on the ski slopes and has obstacles, but the experience is great and so much fun! I look forward to doing it every year!”

There is a maximum of 1,200 competitors allowed for the Mudslide, so if you’re thinking about signing up, don’t wait! Preregistration, which guarantees you a wicking T-shirt, is only available through June 1, and costs $60 for the 3.5- or the 5.4-mile races. From June 2-June 13, the price goes up to $80. Registration also includes a goody bag and a finisher’s medal, plus a hot dog and two beers or other beverages.

Last-chance registration is available during Friday night packet pickup, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Yodeler Lodge. Saturday packet pickup is from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

What better way to spend a Saturday in June than being outdoors, challenging yourself, and getting covered in mud? The Mudslide is a surefire fun time that you won’t soon forget.

“At the finish line, everyone is laughing and smiling!” said Eshbaugh.

For more information on how you can be part of the fun, visit