Hundreds expected for Saturday's Mudfest in Deansboro


DEANSBORO, N.Y. (WKTV) - Last minute preps are underway in Deansboro for the Inaugural Daniel Barden Highland Mudfest.

All of the proceeds from this event will go to Daniel Barden's family. Daniel was one of the first graders shot and killed in Newtown, Connecticut.

Daniel Williams' sister now lives in Newtown. Her family lives next door to Daniel's family. Williams niece was Daniel's best friend. "My niece was in the school, but she was physically unharmed that day but she lost her best friend and next door neighbor, Little Daniel Barden," said Williams. " There is a well worn path between their house and the Barden's. They weren't just neighbors they were like family. My sister is just devastated."

The events of last December moved Williams to organize this Mudfest. "We went to the funeral and I was just so devastated to see this family in turmoil and I just felt that I had to do something to help pull them back from the darkness they were in. I want to do something for this family but more importantly I'd like to be able to change the way we think. We need a paradigm shift in the way we think," said Williams. "We're the United States of America and something like this shouldn't happen here. And what I'd like out of this is for people to really wake-up and think and organize this community and really look after each other and start to develop some change in our mindset."

Right now more than 900 people are signed up for Saturday's 5K Mud Run.

The course is scattered with obstacles, all meant to challenge the runner. Williams says he has a pep talk planned for the participants before the first heat of the race. "If you don't think you can do an obstacle, don't do it," said Williams. "But these families are in pain everyday, all day and all I'm looking for is- it's gonna take you an hour to an hour and a half to get over this course."

More than 100 residents from Newtown are actually signed up to take part in the run. "I think it's going to be a carthartic experience for people. At least it has been for me. Even this process, this journey to do it. This has been healing in so many ways and I hope it'll do that for others as well."

Williams hope to make the Daniel Barden Highland Mudfest an annual event and maybe even expand it in the future.

After the races are over there is entertainment planned for the crowd. "We've got an amazing group of bands lined up. We've got Showtime. Blarney Rebel is going to be kicking it off, they are a great Irish band."

Williams says prepare to get dirty. "Bring towels. Bring a garbage bag. When you're done running we've got some changing areas inside the barn. We've got some heating areas. You'll be able to strip all that down - throw it in a garbage bag and then dress like you're going to snowmobile in a rainstorm and you'll be fine!"

Registration opens up again at 7 am Saturday morning and will continue throughout the morning. The run starts at 9am but that will be taking place in heats. A group of about 100 runners will go each time until the entire crowd starts the run.

Registration for the 5k is $40 plus a $15 insurance fee. Registration for the half mile kids run is $10.

There will be ambulances and EMT's on standby just in case.

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