Mud Immortal participants say a lot went wrong

Tara Bradbury
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Long list of complaints includes lack of clean water, unsafe obstacles

When local businessman Jonathan Brett organized Mud Immortal, a five-kilometre obstacle course in Butter Pot Provincial Park this past weekend, he may not have planned for the mud-slinging to be aimed in his direction.

James Cadigan of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove makes his way through the mud crawl, the final obstacle in Saturday’s Mud Immortal event at Butter Pot Provincial Park.

The event, according to its website, was an adventure challenge with eight obstacles, most of them involving mud. At the finish line, the website states, “we have the Immortal Kitchen Party, with food vendors, beer/beverages and live entertainment.”


Here's mud in your eye ... hopefully

Costing between about $70 and $90 per person to register — with registration happening in teams — Mud Immortal was a well-publicized event over the past five months. A total of 5,134 people had registered for Saturday’s event, making it arguably the largest single fitness event ever held in the province.

While the event was a for-profit venture, Brett told The Telegram last week a portion of registration, 100 per cent of the beer sales and the $5 fee for a shuttle bus to Butter Pot from St. John’s would be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Brett said he had also partnered with the Salvation Army, and bins would be onsite to collect donations of muddy clothes and footwear after the race, which would be professionally cleaned and donated.

Come Saturday, many participants say, nothing went as planned.

Though the smiles were plentiful during the event, The Telegram began receiving emails as early as Saturday afternoon from participants who were disappointed by it.

While many of them said they made the best of the day, complaints started with a lack of parking — which Brett previously acknowledged would be a challenge — and included a 2.5-hour wait in a lineup to register, only six of the promised eight obstacles (and only two of them with actual mud — the rest, they said, were over gravel), no chip timers, no prizes, and no food vendors, although there was beer.

Mud Immortal’s website says a shuttle would be available to bring participants from the finish line back to the start; participants say there was no shuttle, and they had to make the 1.5-kilometre trek on foot. The $5 bus fee to the park wasn’t collected, and there was nowhere visible to donate clothes, they said.

There wasn’t even any water, many people said, apart from park water, available from a spout over which park officials had taped a sign saying it must be boiled before use.

“Myself and my two daughters signed up to volunteer for this event a while back,” Lisa Pye-Harding wrote on the Mud Immortal Facebook site Sunday. “The three of us were driven up to the halfway mark to be responsible for the water station and the rope crawl. We noticed there was only one bottle of water but thought that they would be bringing more. When we started to run out, we contacted our volunteer leader by phone as we were told to do if there (were) any problems. Nobody responded to our call until much later in the morning when we were told to use the park water because there was no other water supply. We told them we were not comfortable doing this but were told to carry on.”

The obstacles seemed unsafe, participants said, and a few posters on Facebook reported injuries.

“The first obstacle was the balance beam, made entirely of two-by-fours,” participant Rob Woolridge told The Telegram. “They may as well have been City of St. John’s blockades for construction. Very unsafe. It wobbled like no tomorrow and I bailed because I was afraid it would crack off.”

“At the cargo net,” added participant Dustin Silvey, “we could hear the wood cracking. My friend asked, ‘How many people are allowed on here at once?’ The volunteer’s response: ‘I don’t know, they didn’t tell me, just go ahead.’ And later, that obstacle broke and was taken out of commission.”

Brett told The Telegram Sunday morning in an email he would be making a comment on the concerns.

“However, I’m sure you understand that I have to speak to all staff, volunteers, sponsors and suppliers first so I can provide all the most accurate answers to anything. I will get in touch shortly,” he wrote. The Telegram contacted him twice more throughout the day, specifically requesting a comment on the lack of water, food, safety of obstacles and donations to charity, but did not receive a response.

Brett told The Telegram at the event on Saturday that security personnel hired for the event didn’t show up, and a new crew brought in at the last minute refused to handle parking. There had been more obstacles on the course, he said, but two of them had been destroyed by moose overnight and were unusable from the start.

Many participants have expressed a desire to take legal action against Brett, even though they were required to sign a hold-harmless waiver before completing in the course.

Local lawyer Eli Baker said waivers don’t always hold up in court.

“It comes down to what a buyer thought they were buying versus what they actually bought,” he explained. “You cannot misrepresent what you’re selling.

“Waivers might get around some things, but you cannot get somebody to give up their legal right not to be defrauded. I’m not saying this person defrauded anybody — I wasn’t there and I don’t know — but waivers do not get you out of any kind of trouble you can imagine. It’s buyer beware, but with a caveat of its own. You can’t go around doing funny business.”

The Telegram attempted to contact the Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador for comment, but did not receive a response as of press time.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: The Telegram, Alzheimer Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, Immortal Kitchen Party Salvation Army

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • John
    September 24, 2013 - 19:22

    What did you expect? You paid 80 dollars to drive up the trans-canada and run through a bog with a piece of 2x4 over it. Funny thing is that 5000 people were actually dumb enough to do it. You reap what you sow.

  • Danny
    September 24, 2013 - 00:03

    Shameful excuse of a for profit sporting event.Mr.Brett is a con man.Shame on me if I fall for one of his planned events again!!

  • Gary Johnston
    September 23, 2013 - 21:47

    Ya know, if people really cared they would just cut a yearly cheque to their favourite charity and forget about relays, scaling Atlantic Place and crawling through mud. Give because it's the right thing to do.

  • Harvey
    September 23, 2013 - 18:06

    No doubt, this guy Brett will one day enter politics.

  • Eli
    September 23, 2013 - 15:13

    CBC reporter onsite noon today said he registered monts ago for this event. Question: How many registrations were there before the "go-shows"? Shoud give us an idea of how much security etc should have been there? N'est ce pas?

  • Moose Damage to Obstacles
    September 23, 2013 - 14:05

    On the mud Immortal facebook page a map was released with what would be assumed to be Brett's notes that was posted by an employee saying, "Sorry Boss....", there were only five obstacles on that so how long ago did the moose attack his obstacles.

  • L. Wiffer
    September 23, 2013 - 12:17

    This event is the same as the last one with Jonathan Brett and the Rainbow Run in Bowring Park a few weeks ago was the same scenario and all of the wrongs were the fault of people he blamed, he had asked to help and then they didnot show up so "he said"... no water provided at that event either...figures!!!! I wonder what they paid to attend that event.

  • The Hare on Jim's Chinny Chin Chin
    September 23, 2013 - 11:32

    Brutal organizing, wouldn't run Bingo. Made a fortune and done nudding. Kudos buddy, you mopped er, now you'll have to listen to the whining all the way home.

  • Cheryl
    September 23, 2013 - 08:45

    Great job with this article! I attended the event as a participant with a team of 42. Our team made the most of the event, but all were disappointed with the lack of organization and the broken promises of the organizer. It's great to have this article in print. Mr. Brett has been deleting all negative comments from the social network sites, but he cannot delete this article - he cannot escape the reality of his failures!

  • Stephen
    September 23, 2013 - 07:59

    Even if Jonathon Brett donates money to the charity, at this point it's just a big tax write-off. I would like a tax receipt IN MY NAME as i feel all 5134 of us participants are the actual donators.

  • Fay Hudson
    September 23, 2013 - 07:57

    The event was a for-profit venture, profit for who--Jonathan Brett? I wasn't there, but according to reports from participants, it was the most disorganized event ever. I hope that all those who took part learned a darn good lesson!

  • mb
    September 23, 2013 - 07:50

    That pic of the mud crawl must have been from very early in the day, because it looked nothing like that when I went through...just dirty water and a few clumps of mud in the corners.

  • Steve
    September 23, 2013 - 07:44

    The website for this event is still listing the promises that were not delivered. If a lawyer wants good publicity, there's a good place to start a class-action. - No safe drinking water - No food (couldn't bring in outside food) - no shuttle from finish back to start - no race timing chips - only half obstacles promised (all very unsafe) In addition: - at least 3 people suffered broken bones or stiches - protected NL pitcher plants were trampled, in a provincial park no less - Volunteers had no information on the safety specs of the obstacles, no handheld radios for calling ahead/back to event organizers - No medical staff on site until after the first injury. - Lack of organization all around, but less then 10 people trying to register 5134 participants

  • Jackie Walsh
    September 23, 2013 - 05:34

    I think people expected this to look like Tough Mudder or Mud Hero from the mainland and that's where the disappointment lies. But I also heard about the issues with security, which led to excess parking on the finish line road. From there, the shuttle bus couldn't get back and forth.

  • Scott
    September 23, 2013 - 04:48

    Hello, I ran this debacle Jonathan Brett called a muddy obstacle race and I am one of the many people who are upset and disappointed after being conned out of upwards of 60 dollars. I think you guys missed the point here. As I can only speak for myself, it wasn't the organizational failures that I am angry at. I don't even really mind that there were not any real obstacles to go through. A lot of numbers have been thrown around as the amount Brett has made from this "race". I figure on low-balling it at 5,134 people times 60 dollars (the lowest amount you could pay with a big enough team). even though many people payed the 100% cost of almost 90 dollars. So, $308,040 is the absolute lowest amount of money that Brett could have collected. After seeing the event, I estimate that from $5-10K was spent on the course, that's not taking into account that sponsors would have paid for some of the things we saw. This is leaving somewhere upwards of $298K. What I am most infuriated with is the lack of donation given to the Alzheimer's Association. Brett promised several things, which are now being declared by runners as false advertising. "Yes, we are working with the Alzheimer's Society of NL to provide a portion of sales and to build awareness of Alzheimer's within Newfoundland and Labrador," said the Mud Immortal site. The Telegram reported where the donations would come from. "While Mud Immortal is a for-profit venture, a portion of every registration, 100 per cent of the beer sales, and the $5 fee for the shuttle to Butter Pot will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Society of Newfoundland and Labrador," Nobody was taking donations for the shuttle bus from St. John's to Butter Pot. Nobody was taking donations for the "bag check" which was just a mountain of unattended bags, coats and belongings. Beer sales, at an event like this, you would think they would be making their donations. NOPE! Brett arranged for an ATM for people to get money for beer and food (non-existent food). That would have worked if people didn't need to pay exact change for the beer. The promised donation to the society? Lies and deceit. NTV has since reported that the Alzheimer's society has not heard from Brett or received a donation. Brett needs to seriously consider all of his options in the next few days and how they can affect the disgruntled runners, supporters and volunteers from the race. My suggestion for Brett's reaction: A large donation in the name of Mud Immortal to the Alzheimer's society. Large meaning every cent you collected in registration. Also, I would say a donation to Butter Pot Park is in order to atone for the massive trampling of protected NL parkland. And a big heart felt apology televised where you get down on your knees and beg for a modicum of forgiveness.