Steve Biegner is the executive director of the Lutheran Charities of Western New York. He's also been a long-distance bicyclist and, in recent years, a frequent participant in 5-kilometer runs.
''Once I got into running,'' he said, ''I realized these 5Ks are great, but, unfortunately, they're a dime a dozen. What we started to see was a need for an adventure run, kind of 5K based, but it would give you a sense that it was different.''
Enter Muddy Viking - Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center-style.
One of the slippery competitors at the 2012 Muddy Viking.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
The second annual event, a four-mile, 26-obstacle, off-road race on LCLC's 150 acres, will be held on Saturday morning. A field of 550 is expected. Another 100 (ages 5-13) will participate in the Muddy Lil' Viking.
Added together, Biegner, the race creator and director, can't wait for the race to kick off at 9 a.m.
''From an athlete's standpoint, a mud run is fantastic,'' he said. ''It's for the 30-year-old who wants to go out and enjoy the morning and not have to give up the whole day, but feel mentally and physically pushed.
''You can also temper the race to the degree you want it. If you want a hard-core, Army-level race, you can do it, but if you want a nice run and watch people make fools of themselves, you can do that, too.''
With the last comment, Biegner chuckled, recalling some of the costumes and the accompanying mud the hundreds of participants wore by the time they crossed the finish line last year.
''We're very proud of having the best, and longest, mud pit of all the races around,'' he said.
Registration is still open and can be completed on-line at www.muddyviking.com; at Southern Tier Brewing Company, from 4-6 p.m., today; and at 7:30 a.m., Saturday at the LCLC.
''We would welcome anyone joining us,'' he said.
The first wave of racers will take off at 9 a.m., with subsequent ''waves'' set to follow every 20 minutes. The kids race will begin at 11:30 a.m.
''The difference this year from last year,'' Biegner said, ''was last year at 9 a.m. it was 26 degrees and the hoses (to wash off the mud) were frozen. This year, it's supposed to be 60 degrees and (the runners) will want to linger in the lake as opposed to last year when they were hypothermic.''
''It will be a much more comfortable atmosphere.''
Proceeds from the Muddy Viking will benefit GA Foster Care, Lutheran and LCLC.
''Unlike other runs that say they are charity runs and contribute two percent to their appointed cause, the Viking is a 100-percent fundraiser for many, many local charities that work with children and families,'' Biegner said.
Biegner also noted that runners will receive a T-shirt, a pint glass from Southern Tier Brewing Company and food. Spectators are welcome and can partake of food and beverage for a donation.