When hell muds over

A Dante-inspired charity run

John-Paul Heil
April 3, 2014

The idea for the mud run first came to Mauro Leoni, president of ASD Sport Lab, which is organizing the event, about three years ago. He explains, ‘Some American friends, guests of our family, told me about two sports that I did not know but that I immediately became fond of: the Tough Mudder and lacrosse.’


‘Our race is not competitive and is probably most like the Tough Mudder, but our course will be an ‘Inferno’ of everything Italian.’ However, he notes, ‘the emphasis is on Dante and not on Dan Brown. Dante and his works are part of Italian culture and especially Florence. The name of the race was chosen because it is evocative and, at the same time, both Italian and international.’

Although his plan all along was to organize a charity event, Leoni says, once he learned, last September, that Parco dei Renai (in Signa) was available, the decision was made. The park, Leoni says, ‘is a haven for this type of racing.’


The event, while a first for Florence, is not a first for Italy. ‘We have made some progress with a few other mud runs in Italy, and we are passionate about the discipline. So we know what it means and what participants expect,’ says Leoni.


‘Whoever takes part in the Inferno Mud Run can expect a day of sport and entertainment, the race (well, it’s not really a race) is not competitive, and it’s no coincidence that mutual help will be needed to overcome some of the obstacles, encouraging the spirit of solidarity among “Mudders.”’

Leoni adds that many teams and groups are already enrolling, and he advises those interested to sign up, noting that ‘Although there is a place for many in hell, only about 1,000 slots are available’ for the May 10 event. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.’


As the organizers and corporate sponsors work out the last details (the registration packet includes goodies from sponsors), Leoni divulges some hints about the course: ‘the circles of Dante’s hell will be an inspiration for some of the obstacles.’


It is an Inferno that perhaps even Dante could never have imagined: a run through a muddy obstacle course. But it’s all for charity, and the event, the first Inferno Mud Run, on May 10, 2014, will include music, refreshments and, thankfully, showers. While the race is non-competitive, prizes will be given for the dirtiest ‘mudder’ and the best costumes, too. Proceeds raised through the event will go to Oxfam Italia.


Inferno Mud Run

May 10, 2014

Parco dei Renai, Signa

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