Hit the dirt: Fundraiser for Greenwood Mennonite School back after year’s absence

Obstacle course run to include mud, fire, ice June 5


GREENWOOD — It’s an adventurous opportunity to get down, dirty and muddy.

Although it was a pandemic cancellation in 2020, the Delmarva Dirt Dash returns this year for its fifth edition June 5 on the grounds of Greenwood Mennonite School, offering a variety of obstacles over a 5K course.

Proceeds will benefit the school’s athletic fund, with a portion being donated to a charitable cause to be determined by the GMS board.

Participants in waves staggered at five-minute intervals will take to the family-friendly 3.1-mile course, which features wooded areas, fields and creeks and a variety of challenges that include fire and ice, monkey bars, a halfpipe, walls and an overabundance of mud.

A minimum of 18 obstacles will dot the course, said Jason Swartzentruber, committee head of the event.

“Sometimes, we get going with the obstacles, and we’re like, ‘Well, let’s add this,’ or ‘Let’s add that,’ and end up with more than 18,” said Mr. Swartzentruber.

Challenges include a slide into a huge mud pit, a leap over a fire pit, strength lifts, a tire wall, climbing walls, balance beams and much more.

There is the lily pad challenge, comprised of foam-covered plywood floating in a muddy water hole. “The goal,” Mr. Swartzentruber said, “is to make it across the water without falling in.”

Participants will also get to experience a thrilling chill.

“We try to get a dumpster full of ice water, and contestants have to jump in and swim through — to get their blood flowing,” said Mr. Swartzentruber.

Advance registration is available here but online sign-ups will close at 6 p.m. June 4. Day-of registration will be available, starting at 8 a.m. The first wave starts at about 9.

Registration fees are $30 for students (ages 12-18) or $60 for adults (19 and over) until May 29 ($70 after).

Dash participants must be 12 years or older. Those under 16 must be accompanied by a chaperone on the course.

Registered participants receive T-shirts, medals, a swag bag with a bracelet, water and a coupon for a drink at the GMS Spring Festival, also being held that day.

All participants also will receive a chip timer made to withstand the muddiest of obstacles.

Custom awards will be presented for:

  • Overall male, female and master’s winners.
  • Top three male and female winners in 10-year groups up to 60 and over.
  • Top three teams.

The Spring Festival will feature various food booths, games, a petting zoo and an auction. Proceeds from the festival support the school’s general fund.

Under Gov. John Carney’s state-of-emergency modification for outdoor gatherings, the participant cap for these events was lifted in late April.

“There was a limit, but the state just removed the guidelines. It was set at 250. But now, there is unlimited registration available,” said Mr. Swartzentruber. “The most I think we’ve ever had was 170, so we weren’t too concerned about the 250 limit. Hopefully, it shoots past that. We’ll see what happens.”

As April was giving way to May, Mr. Swartzentruber said registration was lagging behind that of previous years.

“Right now, we’re down from years past, unfortunately. I’m hoping everybody is just kind of like holding out until the last minute, just to make sure this event actually happens,” he said.

Delmarva Dirt Dash organizers welcome individual and team participation, spanning the spectrum of ability.

“You would be surprised. Some people fly right into it. But others, it definitely takes them longer,” Mr. Swartzentruber said. “Most people are out there just trying to have a good time, and they are pretty courteous. If somebody is really trying to get through the course quick, they’ll let them go ahead and things like that.”

A GMS contingent will be among the participants.

“A lot of the volunteers that we have out there on the course are student-athletes, since the money is going to help the athletic fund,” said Mr. Swartzentruber. “But a lot of them will run it, as well.”