It started slowly with the morning sun. And suddenly by race time, the grounds at Cape Christian Fellowship Church were teeming with runners and volunteers and the curious eager to watch the finishers.
Music was blasting, a deejay primed the runners with details. The day, Saturday, had a Mardi Gras feel, with parents and their children, friends, couples, groups and any variation of Ninja Turtles, superheroes, girly-girls, colors and costumes.
And then at 11 a.m., the Craze 5K exploded, groups of runners dashing over the 3-mile course, some in groups, or costumes, or even seriously attacking the street course near Chiquita Boulevard and Veterans Parkway in Cape Coral.
Two runners struggle through the mud at the Craze 5K at Cape Christian Fellowship Saturday.
Each of the 500 or so participants finished the race sloshing through a huge mud pit, showering the debris off with a burst of freshwater outside the 6,000-gallon pit.
It was the first Craze 5K, sponsored by Not In My City, a Cape Coral nonprofit providing Southwest Florida with social and family services. It also introduced runners to the new Fellowship Park at the church, under construction and opening Easter Sunday.
"I think things went great," event director Chad Woolf said as the un-timed race was finishing.
The day also included a kid run, bouncy and sliding things, outdoor activities, vendors, and a special memory to lock away forever.