Students, Contractors and Local Businesses Run Side By Side For Community Living In “Muskoka Mud Run”

Business, community services, educators and families are coming together on freshly groomed trails near Bracebridge, Ontario, as Community Living South Muskoka (CLSM) hosts its second annual Muskoka Mud Run, October 19-20, 2012.

The Mud Run was inaugurated last year for district elementary schools to compete in cross-country events. With coordination by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, more than 20 schools and 500 runners participated in the first Mud Run.

Behind the scenes was CLSM’s past Board Chair, Dave Morrison. Morrison is a semi-retired contractor in the area who has been volunteering for Community Living in Muskoka and in Mississauga for more than 30 years. Since 2008, Morrison championed CLSM’s development of the farm land where the Mud Run is staged. The farm was recently renamed Morrison Meadows in his honour.

Multiple Goals
The 35-acre farm is home to several work and recreation programs for mentally challenged children and adults. Activities such as the Mud Run also support “inclusive” activities promoting interaction between CLSM clients and the public. As well as growing and selling vegetables, CLSM clients are onsite grooming trails, delivering water to runners and serving them food in the barn. This interaction is what CLSM values most.

Growing “Inclusiveness”
The Mud Run is especially valuable for attracting younger children to the farm, where they can form personal connections with their intellectually challenged neighbours. Morrison Meadows grows relationships with Muskoka business, too, including Morrison’s own contracting firm, Beneath The Sun Inc. The company’s construction work often leads to valued materials and manpower for Morrison Meadows. Additional partnerships reach out to area businesses ranging from a sand & gravel supply to the local Staples store.

Businesses Step Up
As the Mud Run ramped up for this October, Morrison approached his rental supplier, SMS Rents, about discounting rates on equipment to groom the trails. At the local store, Ted Brewer countered with an offer to provide the needed equipment free of charge. “This is a great community project,” says Brewer, “and it’s one our staff is happy to support.” SMS Rents employees have already volunteered to operate the equipment on their own time to prepare for the event.

“We’re glad to have them helping,” Morrison says. “If people are willing to put time into the facility - that can spread. Their interest will attract more interest, and more interaction.”

Marcel Langlois, President of SMS Rents, applauded his Bracebridge staff for taking part in the Mud Run. “We were founded on a close connection to our local communities. Helping them grow stronger is vital to our own future as a business and as long term members of this community.”

Running Partners
The CLSM’s partnerships also extend to the public sector. The Mud Run led to a new relationship with the school board, which now has access to a unique trail facility, and with the township administration, which has leased it the neighboring acreage to the project for $1/year, with hopes of seeing more recreational trails developed there.

With more schools registering this year, organizers expect to see as many as 5,000 visitors to the student Mud Run on Friday, and perhaps as many again for the new Mud Run for adult runners on the Saturday.

Source: SMS Rents


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