If you're afraid of falling face-first into a mud pit, then perhaps the JCB Mud Run is not your cup of tea.
The mud party is back and bigger than last year, and representatives for JCB, a heavy equipment manufacturing company, promise new changes and more than 20 obstacles will make this course "bigger, badder and oh, so much more muddy!"
According to Karen Guinn, marketing and communications director for JCB, this year's course will be more challenging and muddier than last year, but she's not giving away any secrets.
"We don't want people to know what the new obstacles are because we don't want them to know what to expect," Guinn said. "Part of the fun of the race is to be surprised. Plus we are evil, evil people over here at JCB," she teased.
The money raised from the Mud Run goes to the Lady Bamford Center for Early Childhood Development, an educational program in West Savannah serving children in need who are low-income, homeless or of differing abilities. Last year, the race raised about $115,000 for the center.
"The center served 68 children from 5 weeks old to 5 years old, and they have a massive waiting list," Guinn said. "The center can now serve up to 80 children. The work they do at this school is just incredible."
JCB sponsored other road races in the past to raise funds for charity.
"Part of the course for our 5K road race was an off-road portion and people really loved that," Guinn explained.
"So, we realized we could use our own machines to make an incredible mud racecourse and raise even more money.
"Savannah in summer is hot, and it's not fun to run on the road, but it's always fun to play in the mud."
For safety reasons, race organizers cap entries at 3,000 participants, and running buddies are required.
"Everyone has to have at least a two-person team," Guinn explained. "Obstacles are designed for teamwork. It's also an extra safety check to have people pair up, so no one gets left in the mud."
Guinn also stressed that this race is a team event, so entrants don't have to be strong runners to compete.
But strong runners are encouraged to sign up for a chance to run at JCB Savannah's sister mud run in England.
"Our U.K. counterparts followed our lead and hosted their own mud run, so their winners are flying here (to our North American headquarters in Savannah) to run our race and we will send our winners over to England next summer," Guinn said. "We will pay for the winners of the Savannah Mud Run to fly over for the weekend to 'Beat the Brits.'"
This special division costs extra and is only for two-person teams.
What else is new this year?
A costume contest will take place at 7:15 a.m. on the post-race party stage. Prizes will be given for the best team costume and best individual costume for the wackiest and most imaginative race outfits.
A prize for best team name will also be selected by the Savannah-based panel of judges, and race organizers stress the importance of keeping costumes and team names family-friendly - there will also be a kids' run before the first wave of runners hit the muddy course.
"All children in the Mud Dobbers Run will get the chance to run through the giant mud pit at the finish line," Guinn said. "All kids also get awards."
And not only is the race bigger this year, but the post-race party is popping at the seams with extras.
"We have a DJ and two live bands this year, Domino Effect and the Train Wrecks. Savannah Distributing Co. and Coastal Empire Beer Co. will supply post-run beverages," Guinn said.
"It's a great way to end the race and have everyone come together to listen to live music and enjoy all the food and drinks they want. This year, spectators can pay a $10 donation and enjoy all the food and drink they want at the after-party, too."
Race organizers encourage participants to bring chairs or tents and relax after the race.
For those who have never run the Mud Run before, Guinn suggests runners bring a change of clothes for the after-party.
"I tell people to wear something for the race that they don't plan to ever wear again," Guinn said. "Just plan to peel off your clothes and dump them.
"And wear old running shoes that you don't want to wear again, too. We will have bins on hand for runners to donate old shoes that we plan to recycle."
JCB will also provide four new showers this year, so runners can get cleaned up and enjoy the after-party.
Guinn also offers advice for parking.
"The race will take place at 2000 Bamford Blvd. and overflow parking will be at the Mighty Eighth Airforce Museum," she said. "We recommend locals come in on Highway 80 and avoid I-95. We had major backups on the interstate last year."
IF YOU GO
What: 2013 JCB Mud Run
When: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 15
Where: 2000 Bamford Blvd., Pooler
Cost: Pre-registration is required, prices vary