Your first mud run (yfmr) is a mud run for everyone. So how did such a thing come to be?
“I love mud runs,” says founder and fitness industry pro Brad Vaccaro, who has competed in about 50 obstacle course races.
“I wanted to introduce my friends to this fun sport, but whenever I would ask if they wanted to join me, they would say things like, ‘it looks too hard,’ or ‘I don’t want to get hurt, or ‘I’d rather spend the day with my kids.’”
That was Vaccaro’s aha moment. YFMR was born.
But having a good time and getting a little exercise wasn’t enough of a reason for being in Vaccaro’s mind. Inspired by his father, who passed away before having a chance to lean into retirement, Vaccaro wanted YFMR to be as meaningful as it was memorable. “YFMT wants to support the communities where we hold our events,” Vaccaro says. “We’ve helped raise over $50,000 for 100+ local charities such as the Rotary Club of Fair Lawn and the VFW of Garfield.”
Vaccaro solved for each and every one of his friends’ hesitations, launching YFMR in 2011 with a race in the scenic hills of northern New Jersey (indeed, New Jersey has scenic hills). That first event—only six obstacles, using whatever random equipment Vaccaro could get his hands on; kids and adults racing separately—was a total learning experience.
To date, YFMR has hosted more than 20,000 racers at over 50 events. As many as 10 races take place annually over six states in the Northeast. And kids can run side-by-side with their grown-ups.
YFMR continued moving and improving—until 2020. Like most businesses that revolve around gathering in person, Covid-19 closed down YFMR for an entire year. But not unlike a good inflatable slide, YFMR bounced back bigtime: Attendance at 2021’s events was so strong that Vaccaro has decided to expand, buying a truck to transport his own obstacles as far away as North Carolina and Florida, with California in his sights next.
Different obstacles allow participants to run YFMR again and again, as the course changes all the time.
This year, YFMR is even hosting three events on the behalf of other groups, bringing the experience to organizations such as Harbaugh Village in Mullica Hill, NJ. These events are tailored to the available space, as well as the needs and ages of the organization.
“We’ve made so many people happy and even changed some lives by getting folks into a new sport or back in fitness,” says Vaccaro. “What I’m proudest of at the end of the day is seeing how much fun everyone has.”