Mudder's day at Boone Hall
Last Christmas, 16-year-old Krista Gerkman wanted an iPad, so when her grandfather gave her and eight other family members registrations for Saturday's Rugged Maniac Adventure Race in Mount Pleasant, her reaction wasn't surprising.
"I said, 'Oh, my God, no way," recalled Krista, as she lined up with her family for an off-road 5K at Boone Hall Plantation interspersed with more than 20 obstacles featuring mud, water, barbed wire and running, crawling, climbing and jumping.
Her grandfather, 57-year-old Rob LeVecchia of Wilmington, N.C., smiled and laughed as he told the story of his Christmas scheme.
"I didn't have to wrap a thing. I sent it to them in an email that they opened on Christmas (morning)," he said, adding proudly, "We're three generations of LeVecchia here!"
The family -- which included a friend who flew in from Alberta, Canada -- lined up at the 12:30 p.m. wave start in white tank tops with "Nane + Pape" (nicknames, pronounced Nanny and Papi, for their grandmother and grandfather) on the front and "Team LeVecc" on the back.
That was just one of hundreds of stories of families, couples, co-workers and friends -- many in costume -- who participated at the second annual Rugged Maniac at Boone Hall in Mount Pleasant.
The event seemed particularly popular for young adults, CrossFit fitness buffs and members of the armed services.
The event managed the flow of participants by sending them out in waves of up to 350 people. Each wave left at 30-minute intervals from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday's event was under threat of thunderstorms all day, but the weather cooperated until a mid-afternoon tornado warning.
"We canceled the last two waves because we didn't want to take any chances," said Brad Scudder, president of the Boston-based Rugged Races, at 3:30 p.m.
Of the 3,500 who signed up, about 200 were unable to run because of the warning and will receive refunds, said Scudder.
While this year's race had more mud obstacles, event organizers faced an obstacle of their own -- keeping them muddy.
The well-drained soil of Boone Hall kept plantation staffers busy filling obstacles with water from mobile water storage tanks.