Team Seleni Raises $95,000 and Conquers Mudderella

42 women, five miles, and buckets of mud – all to support women's mental health

Team Seleni had a fantastic, muddy, team-building time at Mudderella 2015. Forty-two women (and one man!) joined together to tackle a five-mile course of tall obstacles and deep mud to come out messy but accomplished at the end. The team raised more than $95,000 (and counting, you can still contribute) for the Seleni Institute's financial assistance program, which enables Seleni to provide expert clinical services to women who would otherwise be unable to access and afford quality mental health care.

Designed by women and for women, Mudderella was the perfect opportunity to put the Seleni mission of supporting women and families directly into action. From the very first mile when participants actually had to carry each other over a section of the course, the team had to pull together and help one another.

The team scaled mountains and valleys of slick, deep mud that required teammates to boost and lift each other out of the muck to safety. Participants also pulled and pushed one another over tall walls, and even crossed a vast pool of mud with hidden holes that meant having to hold hands and follow each other closely to avoid falling into the murky depths.

Every messy, sloshy step of the way, teammates cheered each other on, laughed, grunted, and commiserated (just a little). Everyone felt proud of the work they had done, both on the course and by raising money to support the well-being of women.

"I've never done anything like this before," said Maria Paliou, mother of 7-year-old twins. "In the beginning, I totally freaked out, but then I eased into it and found my pace. Now I want to do a marathon!"

For others, the surprise was in the eyes of their cheering section. Jane Corrigan's 6-year-old daughter Dwyer was riveted while watching her mother tackle the last challenge – a hanging field of tippy tire swings that threatened to upend participants at any second. "It was really hard. The tires kept spinning, and they had to use teamwork to get across," said Dwyer, adding that she has never seen her mother do anything like that before, and "it was pretty amazing."

After rinsing off layer after layer after layer of mud, and refueling and relaxing back at the tent, the women reflected on their two hours of hard work. "The team was a real team," said Karla Farach, mother of two boys. "We all helped each other and we were all running, because we believe in what Seleni is doing. And we are coming back next year!"