Wednesday May 11, 2011 | 12:43 PM

It's a "forever" sort of thing between me and mud.

In the early days I sought it out in backyards, playgrounds and the small grassy islands in grocery store parking lots.

These days it finds me.

It catapults itself onto the sleeve of my shirt, wrapping it's dirty mitts around my arm in a stain-inducing miniature hug.

It dives onto a pant leg and clings there like a panicked child.

It follows me home and settles in for a permanent sleepover on the hallway carpet.

And that's fine by me. Truth be told, I kinda like the stuff. So when I heard about USM's inaugural Into the Mud Challenge, I could not resist.

The 2.5-mile mud run took place Saturday behind Gorham Middle School and featured 16 mud-centric obstacles. Around 300 mud-loving locals participated, many in costume.

And some people held hands going in.

Obstacles included an army crawl, a slide and a waist-deep mud wading.

There was balancing.

And high knee mud plunging.

And plenty of mud pride.

Beyond the finish line, mud contenders washed off the old fashioned way: with a backyard hose.

And some said "to heck with washing" and wore mud up to their chins for the rest of the afternoon.

The Into the Mud Challenge also benefited the USM Sport Management Scholarship Fund, so there was a method behind the mudness.

And no doubt the event will be back next year. It better be, anyway.

For more info and photos from Saturday's mud run, check out Into the Mud Challenge on Facebook. And check out their website: www.intothemudchallenge.com.

About the Author

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Shannon Bryan, content producer for MaineToday Media, likes exploring Maine - from mattress races to cardboard boats, she's into the weird stuff.

Karen Beaudoin, online editor for MaineToday Media, likes knowing the important things - like who's just opened their deck for a sunny afternoon beer and what Portland's eclectic set of street performers are up to.

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