Kentucky Dirty organizers are planning three miles of filthy fun

mmeehan1@herald-leader.comSeptember 16, 2013 

  • IF YOU GO

    The Kentucky Dirty

    Where: The Kentucky Dirty at the Life Adventure Center, 570 Milner Road, Versailles.

    When: Race begins 9 a.m., Sept. 21. Race registration includes BooneDoggle Post Race Festival. No one under 18 is allowed.

    Cost: Registration is $65 through Sept. 20. It is $75 the day of the race. BooneDoggle tickets are $12 online; $18 on race day.

    More information: TheKentuckyDirty.com

Brittain "Grits" Skinner loves to talk dirty, especially Kentucky Dirty.

Some filthy fun is coming to the Bluegrass on Saturday via Skinner and her partner in the nonprofit Squirrel Hound Productions, John Clevinger.

The duo are the brain trust for the Kentucky Dirty — a mud course unlike any mud course ever seen around here.

In keeping with the name, it celebrates the uncommon found in the commonwealth. Five hundred people have signed up for the run and the party to follow, which has been dubbed the Boonedoggle Post Race Festival as a nod to Daniel. (Dan'l to his friends.)

The 3-mile run at the Life Adventure Center in Versailles will feature obstacles highlighting Kentucky landmarks, such as Mammoth Cave and Fort Knox, and other Kentucky-centric themes, including the Gonzo Gauntlet in honor of native son and onetime Johnny Depp running buddy Hunter S. Thompson.

You can check out the full list at TheKentuckyDirty.com.

Runners will be released in "waves" starting at 9 a.m., to make sure the obstacles aren't overcrowded. Also, tickets are available for people who just want to come for the party.

The seeds of Kentucky Dirty were planted at an "unconference" sponsored by Progress Lex in 2011. Skinner found herself in a group discussing how to make Lexington "the most awesome place that everyone wants to go to."

She had the idea for an extreme run with a Kentucky spin. It was considered among the best of the day. In fact, the idea won her a bicycle helmet.

So, there she was, with an idea and a bike helmet and not a firm idea what to do next. She and Clevinger were friends, and he happened to both participate in mud runs and have an MBA, so she bombarded him with questions. Soon he moved from Atlanta to Lexington to pitch in even more.

They worked with the Small Business Development Center in Lexington, which offers free consultation to Central Kentucky start-up businesses. Jack Kelly, who helped organize the 2010 World Equestrian Games, offered advice before he died in July, she said.

The event has some quintessential Kentucky sponsors, including Ale-8, and spirit-ed firms West Sixth Brewery, Town Branch Bourbon and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. And because those sponsors make adult beverages, this is a run for 18 and older. (Sorry, no kids.)

"The most fun has been local people and local businesses getting excited about it and wanting to partner with us," Clevinger said. He said the race will appeal to the same crowd he runs into at his day job as director of the Lexington Sports and Social Club, where there are leagues in kickball and dodge ball and the like for grownups, along with parties and pub crawls to benefit charities.

Skinner said the demographics of those who have signed up so far have been interesting. Although many are 20 to 40 years old, there are some in their 70s.

Registered participants can submit their ideas for the final obstacle on Facebook and vote for their favorite. Current serious contenders include something based on Big Bone Lick State Park, with giant faux mammoth bones to crawl through. Another post jokingly suggested rows of naked women to be a distraction as runners traverse the mud. (See, "sorry no kids," above.)

There are other mud runs and obstacle courses, Skinner said, even runs featuring the occasional zombie or bystanders bombing runners with bursts of colored power.

In fact, she said, "social running" has been trending for a couple of years. But most of those are run by out-of-state companies that come to town with a pre-packaged event.

The standard run has become a little boring for some runners, and Skinner and Clevinger aid they hope the Kentucky Dirty will be anything but.

"We want it to be like the very best day of summer when you are 12 years old," said Skinner, who is executive director of Downtown Frankfort, a nonprofit promoting, yes, downtown Frankfort.

The run is raising money for a charity, Homes for Our Troops, that builds housing for disabled veterans.

Now, after all the paperwork is in order, a location secure, the obstacles planned and the party ready to roll, the Kentucky Dirty is ready for prime time.

Skinner said she hopes they've created something that "celebrates where we live" and is also a little dirty.


IF YOU GO

The Kentucky Dirty

Where: The Kentucky Dirty at the Life Adventure Center, 570 Milner Road, Versailles.

When: Race begins 9 a.m., Sept. 21. Race registration includes BooneDoggle Post Race Festival. No one younger than 18 is allowed.

Cost: $65 through Sept. 20, $75 the day of the race. BooneDoggle tickets are $12 online, $18 on race day.

More information: TheKentuckyDirty.com

Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: BluegrassMoms.com.

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