Hard-Core Fun: Runners get muddy for a cause

OneRunTogether's "Hard to the Core" 5k Mud Run at Weaver's Orchard in Morgantown, Sept. 14, 2013. Photo by Christine Charron
OneRunTogether's "Hard to the Core" 5k Mud Run at Weaver's Orchard in Morgantown, Sept. 14, 2013. Photo by Christine Charron

Vernon Murphy, Founder and CEO of ‘OneRunTogether, Inc.’, a non-profit organization that benefits local cancer patients, hosted the Second Annual 5k Mud Run/Walk fundraiser at Weavers Orchard in Morgantown Sept. 14, 2013.

Murphy lined them up and called the moves as he got the different age groups in place, and they were off and running or walking. The crowd was a mix of cancer survivors, caretakers, family and friends, and people who are addicted to 5k runs – this one with the added twist of being a mud run. Exit Strategy, a local band situated on a bandstand over the lake, kept the crowd geared up with excitement.

It was a beautiful fall day, clear and crisp – the perfect day for a 5k run, to hurdle over hay bales, slip and slide in mud, and run through the creek. Sweating runners came over the finish line with their sneakers and legs splashed and caked with mud, clothes dripping with water and big smiles on their faces.

The group included a set of 13-year-old twins from Twin Valley High School. Coming over the finish line, Jared and Clayton Amey were slathered with mud. Those sneakers may become trophies. “But that was the fun of it,” their mother Kim said.


Clayton said, “I just love running; it is my hobby. I have run 15 5k runs in the past year.” Now he can add another notch on his belt – or in this case, sneakers.

A unique story at the run was that of groom-to-be Steve Hauser, 32, of Annapolis, Md.

“It was a blast. My first run!” Hauser said.

It was 9:30 a.m. as he and his best man came sprinting over the finish line. Hauser would join his bride at 4 p.m. that afternoon for a formal wedding in Lititz. His brother and best man, Bobby Hauser, had arranged it all, according to their mother, who was elated, saying the outdoor wedding following a mud race would be memorable.

After the race, the participants followed the smell of food cooking and were served a fall breakfast of apple pancakes, made by Pete DeFazio, along with big rings of sausages served up by Renee Murphy, Vernon’s mother. Fresh orchard fruit, yogurt, homemade cider and orange juice, warm coffee, hot chocolate and icy water rounded out the breakfast included in the admission price.

Murphy couldn’t have been more pleased with the large crowd that had gathered to help cancer patients pay their bills. Murphy’s wife, Beth, battled breast cancer for nine years before losing her fight at the age of 46 on Nov. 13, 2009. She was a mother of three: Cory, Casey and Cayla. Their local church, East Brandywine Baptist, their children’s school, Conestoga Christian, and the local community reached out to help the family with not only emotional support, but also by making meals, helping with family needs and transportation when needed.

Murphy said, “I thought about all the people who might be struggling with nowhere to turn for help. I wanted to start an organization that would help those people to pay utility bills, rent, mortgage, childcare, auto repairs, food and just the everyday expenses that people have.”

Their slogan is “Run together, so no one fights cancer alone.” Murphy’s friends got him into running to help him after his wife passed away and he discovered that it helped lift his spirits and gave him a feeling of well-being.

OneRunTogether serves a six county area. On March 12, 2012, the organization helped its first patient. To date, they have given out 77 grants to over 65 people, having raised over $21,000. People are referred through medical providers or word of mouth.

Murphy wanted to thank all of this year’s sponsors for their support.

For more information, visit oneruntogether.org.