“Cleanest, dirtiest fun” at Cherry Blossom Festival raises funds for children’s home

bpurser@macon.comMarch 29, 2014 

  • The Macon Mud Run at Hephzibah Children's Home Saturday morning. The 7K and 5K course included obstacles, pond crossings, hills, slides, tunnel crawls, and mud pits. Video by Woody Marshall

‘It’s the cleanest, dirtiest fun you can have,” says Peter Bagley.

Bagley, executive director of the Heph­zibah Children’s Home, was referring to the second annual Macon Mud Run on Saturday. The Cherry Blossom Festival event is a fundraiser for the children’s home.

The Macon Mud Run included obstacles, pond crossings, hills, tunnel crawls and more than 100 mud puddles for its 7K and 5K courses. It also included a 1K Mini-Mud course for children ages 6 to 11.

Stephanie Owen, Richard Johnson and four of their friends spent about three hours on the adult course Saturday afternoon. They called themselves, “The Muddy Buddy Team.”

“It takes stamina,” said team member Noah Johnson. “It’s thick mud, hills after hills.”

Owen interjected, “It was fun, though.”

The team agreed that the course is much harder than it looks.

Richard Johnson summed it up in one word, “Awesome!” Others said, “Muddy!”

Covered from head to toe in mud, the team was asked what they planned to do next.

“Take a shower,” said team member Dana Peters.

Team member Amy Keenom said, “Eat and crash.”

A team of about eight people spent about two weeks building the course on the property of the children’s home at 6601 Zebulon Road in Macon, Bagley said.

This year’s event drew an estimated 1,200 to 1,600 people, with the number hard to narrow because of the unknown number of people who did not pre-register but showed up for the event Saturday, he said.

The event raised $20,000 last year and is expected to raise about the same or a little better this year, Bagley said.

The home is a residential care facility for children who have come from difficult circumstances and are unable to be with their families for a variety of reasons, Bagley said. The home provides restorative care, counseling and “all the needs that they would have just like they would at home,” he said.

The home’s name came from the Bible verse found in Isaiah 62:4.

“And it was a promise that the two little ladies that started this program 115 years ago came upon when they were going through some hard times, and it says, ‘You shall no more be desolate for your name shall be Hephzibah because the Lord delights in you,” Bagley said. “They took that as a promise that God would provide.

“And he has and he does and in some very strange ways,” Bagley said as he pointed to the Macon Mud Run going on nearby.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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