NICEVILLE — Over 3,000 raced to the muddy finish line Saturday morning in the 8th annual Emerald Coast MudRun for Orphans.
All of the proceeds from the race held at the Northwest Florida State College campus in Niceville go to Heart of the Bride, a non-profit organization that provides for orphans in India, Eastern Europe, Zambia, Kenya and Haiti.
Michael Anderson, the race director, said the mud run began eight years ago when Heart of the Bride was in need of a fundraiser.
The mud run grew from 1,000 participants in the first year to over 3,000 this year.
"Every year I get compliments from people saying, 'I can't wait for the next year,'" Anderson said.
Last year, Anderson said they raised around $83,000 for the charity. This year's goal was $75,000, but Anderson expects it to be around $80,000.
With an event this big, many hands are needed. Anderson said they have over 40 volunteers that come out and spend the whole day helping.
"I'm amazed at how well the community comes together because we couldn't do it without all of the volunteers," Anderson said.
The Emerald Coast MudRun is comprised of several different races including the "Zero Dark Thirty" 5K run at night and the more challenging 10K "Elite Warrior" race. During the races, competitors hustle to the finish line while battling more than 18 obstacles like climbing a giant mud hill, crawling through mud pits and even partaking in an ice bath.
The event holds races for all ages like the one mile fun run for kids with the first obstacle being a giant water slide.
For more information about Heart of the Bride, visit www.heartofthebride.org.