Mud Grand Prix Runs Celebrates Winter Solstice on Sunday

I’m a Native Oregonian and can’t believe I’m just now hearing about an Oregon tradition called The Mud Grand Prix. Started in 1978 by Steve Cackley, they originally included 7 runs in the series. They ran on the solstices and equinoxes, as well as the hottest, coldest and wettest days of the year.  The hottest, coldest and wettest days would vary based on weather records from the previous year.  The Mud Grand Prix tradition continues, but they meet quarterly for the Vernal Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumnal Equinox and Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice falls on Sunday, December 21st and runners will meet to celebrate at Chapman Elementary. The run begins at 9 a.m. from Wallace Park at Chapman Elementary and makes its way to Lower Macleay Park. It runs portions of the Wildwood and Leif Erickson Trails and is not an official ‘race’ distance, with it being a 6.76 mile run.

I love the history of this series. Apparently one of the first winners and long-time course record holder was Gordon Haller. A bit of a celebrity in the triathlon world, Gordon Haller was the winner of the first Ironman in 1978. He might not be there on Sunday, but the tradition will continue.  The Mud Grand Prix Series meets quarterly, it isn’t anything fancy just a good excuse to get out and run. If you can’t make the Winter Solstice, continue to check the website for 2015 events. I’m excited to hear about this race series, better late than never.

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