These are some of the community members who have banded together for a memorial mud run on Sept. 14 in Mexico to raise money to fight addiction. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

MEXICO — A memorial mud run to raise money to fight addiction will take place Saturday, Sept. 14.

The Adam Gatchell Memorial Mud Run, with the theme “Burying Addiction in the Mud,” will be held Sept. 14 in Mexico to raise money to fight addiction. Rumford Falls Times photo by Bruce Farrin

The Adam Gatchell Memorial Mud Run, with the theme “Burying Addiction in the Mud” will be held at 456 River Road, also known as Route 2.

Bonnie Gatchell said the event is being held in memory of her son, Adam Gatchell, 29, who died Aug. 22, 2018.

With emotion in her voice, she said, “I lost my son to fentanyl poisoning last August due to his opioid addiction.”

“I wanted to make this mud run happen because mud and trucks were among his favorite things,” Gatchell said. “And I wanted to do this to raise money to help people with addiction.”

Gatchell said the idea for a fundraising mud run event went as far back as last October, “because I didn’t want his death to be for nothing.”

At about this time, Lonnie Labonte and his mother, Kathie Williams, were leading an effort to start the Larry Labonte Recovery Center, a resource center for people dealing with addiction, mental illness and other challenges.

Gatchell said all proceeds from the mud run will be donated to the recovery center. Williams said construction of the facility is underway, planned for part of the building at Arbe’s Carpet Center, 412 Waldo St. in Rumford.

The center is a tribute to Arbe’s former owner, Larry Labonte, who died in 2015 after struggling with addiction throughout his life, according to Lonnie Labonte.

Williams said fundraising for the center, a nonprofit organization, is ongoing, with a goal of $25,000 to get it going.

“We’re up to $14,000, with more donations coming in. This (mud run) is going to be huge for us,” she said, adding that they’re also looking to get grant funding.

Gatchell, owner-operator at Gatch’s Food & Spirits in Rumford, sought the help of Dan Richard to help launch her idea because “he’s the guy who makes things happen in this town.”

Richard joked that he stopped at Gatch’s for lunch one day “and here I am doing a mud run.”

Once it was decided to have a mud run, he said, the only place to have it was in Coulthard’s Field, the site of mud runs several years ago.

The problem was that over the years, the field had grown in with bushes, high grass and poison sumac that needed to be removed. Richard said doing the needed prep work on the site included Kenrick Thibodeau and Andre Carrier with an excavator, volunteers from the Mexico and Rumford fire departments, and more than 40 hours of bush hogging from Jamie Dolloff.

He noted that Craig and Rebecca Coulthard of Coulthard’s Pools & Spas “have been super great about working with us.”

But beyond these volunteers are many more in the community doing their part to make the event a success.

“I have a lot of special people in my life,” Gatchell said. “I really do. It’s really heartwarming. I think it’s going to be a great thing, raise a lot of great money. But mostly, I just want something good to come out of something bad.”

If it goes over well, Gatchell said she would love this to become an annual fundraising event.

MUD RUN DETAILS

This will be a redneck-style mud run: anything goes. A mud run of an estimated 300 feet, the contest is to see who can go the farthest the fastest.

Classes will be for trucks/cars, daily drivers and a class for ATVs.

Registration for the Sept. 14 mud run in Mexico begins at 7:30 a.m., with the vehicles “hitting the mud” by 10 a.m.

Participant admission is $20. Spectator admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, and free for those younger than 5. A family of four or more pays $25.

Staff members will wear teal shirts, the color of the addiction recovery awareness movement. They will put out teal ribbons and there will be teal bracelets.

They will sell Adam Gatchell Memorial Mud Run T-shirts and Larry Labonte Recovery Center bracelets.

Kimberly Money said her son, Evan, and his fellow basketball travel league Wolves players will run a kids’ event, which includes a battery-operated Power Wheel run.

There will be a 50/50 raffle, and raffles for items such as a cornhole game and a wishing well.

Breakfast sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and bacon-wrapped grilled chicken will be available and a baked goods tent.

People can find information and volunteer to help on the Adam Gatchell Memorial Mud Run Facebook page.

This event is drug and alcohol free. Violators will be removed.

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