Corey King is one mother -- and mudder -- who is looking forward to cleaning mud out of her three children's ears, but her kids will have to return the favor.
Then, for good measure, she'll be happy to work on husband Jon King.
That's after they've all been hosed down by Fire District 7 in Ferndale.
Just when you might have thought the outdoor sports calendar is already packed with every conceivable challenge in Whatcom County, along comes the first local Muds to Suds obstacle race
The spectator friendly 5K Muds to Suds begins at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, at Ferndale's Hovander Park, with the anticipated 1,400 participants taking the mud plunge in waves. A shorter, less-demanding but still mud-filled race for kids 8-14 will cap the event at 1:15 p.m.
"It's already sold out, but we encourage people to come and watch," said Corey, who has become a fervent convert to the joys and challenges of being a mud racer. Part of the Ferndale joy will be the after-race party, which will include live music, food and a beer garden, plus, no doubt, endless stories.
The Lynden residents say their kids are looking forward to cheering their parents during their second mud race. Then the kids will jump right in for their first mud racing experience.
The Kings feel a national craze for mud racing has captured the zeitgeist of our outdoors infatuated era. Can you imagine the "Mad Men" -- or their women -- of half a century ago starting a mud race waist high in goo, then climbing a muddy rope?
"That's what we did in our first mud experience, the Spartan Race at Washougal in June," said Jon.
They have the photos to prove what enthusiastic mudders they became.
"We actually started that race on a big water slide with a plunge into four feet of mud," said Corey. "I'm standing up there, having a little anxiety attack and watching people take the plunge, and I'm wondering what have I got myself into? But you just have to take the plunge."
Corey and Jon both found themselves totally immersed in mud after sliding into the goo, but they just shook it off and kept racing.
They finished together in about 1 hour, 40 minutes for the hilly four-mile event, which attracted more than 4,000 racers and included 20 obstacles such as burning logs, a 300-yard mud crawl uphill under barbed wire, and mud, mud and more mud.
"Mud racing is really becoming huge around the country," said Corey.
"Some people follow the mud racing circuit and there are highly competitive athletes who make money at it," said Jon.
Other than their newfound passion for mud racing, the Kings are pretty much a typical family. They enjoy watching son Noah, 14, and daughters Emilie, few days short of 12, and Olivia, 9, participate in a variety of sports and outdoors activities.
Corey, 37, played volleyball at Lynden Christian, participates in a fitness boot camp, and is a medical assistant. Jon, 41, an operations technician at the BP Cherry Point Refinery, is a Lynden High graduate who worked through school. He experienced a huge growth spurt after graduation and has enjoyed many recreational sports.
"Our kids didn't go to the Washougal race, but they got excited about mud racing when they saw our pictures," said Corey. "When we told them about Muds to Suds, they all wanted to go. Noah will race with us and the girls will go in the kids' race. The kids were excited to sign up."
Corey has discovered the joys of fitness in recent years.
"We discovered mud racing after I had been doing a fitness boot camp for about 2 1/2 years with my trainer, Amy DeMeyer. She runs Designed to Be Fit," said Corey, whose fitness level made her confident she could finish her first mud race. "I did the Lake Padden Duathlon two years ago and finished."
"And I had started lifting weights and getting fit," said Jon, also expressing his confidence.
The couple didn't know anything about mud racing while visiting the North Bend area east of Seattle several months ago and saw a mud race called the Warrior Dash. One YouTube mud race view led to another, and pretty soon they were headed for Washougal and the Spartan Race.
People who mud race are informed the race can be dangerous and must sign a release. Corey, in fact, suffered a gash in her cheek and a black eye in a mishap involving a post. She required medical attention and later she had stitches, but she wasn't about to let that stop her from finishing.
"It was a fluke accident," she said. "You just have to test yourself and see what you're capable of."
They laugh at the memory of checking into a motel, still more than a little muddy, and watching the clerk for a reaction.
"She was looking at me very politely, but when she asked what color our car was and I answered brown, she couldn't stop herself from laughing," said Jon. "We were all laughing together. But I did feel sorry for the maid."