Giving Back

Women Get Down and Dirty Battling Domestic Violence During Annual Mudderella

Several thousand women, and some men, took part in the annual Mudderella aginst domestic violence at Raceway Park in Old Bridge on Saturday. Credits: Charles W. Kim
South Brunswick resident Giancarla Pozzo and her team ran in memory of her late father, Giovanni Floridia. Credits: Charles W. Kim
Mudderella participant Kelley Leo, 33, came all the way from Santa Cruz, California to run with two cousins and a friend, Mary Giamartino, 33, of Astoria, Queens, Lisa Russo, 34, from Long Island and Elisha Weitz, from Morristown. Credits: Charles W. Kim
Participants get ready to run.  Credits: Charles W. Kim
The "Maxinistas" from the Max Fitness gym in East Brunswick pose for a team picture. Credits: Charles W. Kim
Credits: Charles W. Kim
A Mudderella team takes a "selfie" after the run. Credits: Charles W. Kim
Credits: Charles W. Kim
Credits: Charles W. Kim
Credits: Charles W. Kim
Credits: Charles W. Kim
Credits: Charles W. Kim
Credits: Charles W. Kim
Credits: Charles W. Kim

OLD BRIDGE, NJ – Several thousand women, and some men as well, got down and dirty Saturday while raising money to fight domestic violence during the annual Mudderella season kick off.

Participants took part in a 5-to-7-mile obstacle course, with plenty of opportunities to be covered in mud, at Raceway Park in Old Bridge to raise money for Futures Without Violence, a non-profit organization battling domestic abuse.

 It was the first of seven such events scheduled throughout the country, taking place the day before Mother’s Day.

Sign Up for E-News

The others will take place between May 30 and Oct. 3 in Chicago, northern California, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Washington D.C. area and New England.

The participants form teams, train and raise money before taking part in the event, according to the organization.

“We are running in honor of my father, Giovanni Floridia,” South Brunswick resident Giancarla Pozzo, 39, of Monmouth Junction said, standing with her team of about eight people wearing shirts with her late father’s photo. “Today is the 15-year anniversary of his death (from prostate cancer).”

In addition to having a memorial for him at her home later in the day, Pozzo said he was “one of the biggest celebrators of life” she has ever known, and that doing the event would truly honor his memory.

“Friends were like family to him,” she said, briefly choking up with tears. “I know that he did not just want people to cry for him, so I thought what better way to celebrate life than to do something that celebrates women and life than to run a Mudderella with my friends and family.”

Pozzo’s team included members of her family and friends; Azra Baig, of Monmouth Junction, Tracey Crowley, 54, from Kendall park, Meredith Maggiacomo, 44, of Plainsboro, Sharon Vogel, 43, of Princeton Junction and Kim Suez, 43, from Monmouth Junction.

As they stood in a line waiting to start the race around noon, the group admitted to being a bit nervous after seeing runners finishing the course, covered head-to-toe in mud.

“It is the first time together doing this sort of run,” Baig said, “We work out in the gym together.”

Another team of around 10, clad in red shirts with “Maxinistas” written across the front in white letters, included a group of friends from the Max Fitness gym in East Brunswick.

That group said they were looking to challenge themselves by running the course and use the event to “get out of our comfort zones.”

“That’s when the magic happens,” one of the group members said.

The participant in a third team, Kelley Leo, 33, came all the way from Santa Cruz, California to run with two cousins and a friend, Mary Giamartino, 33, of Astoria, Queens, Lisa Russo, 34, from Long Island and Elisha Weitz, from Morristown.

“I think it is a great cause, running against domestic violence,” Russo said.

The Mudderella course challenges runners with obstacles including crawling on their bellies in mud, climbing a rope over a wooden wall, sliding down a pipe into a muddy water pit, climbing hills, balancing on a beam and many other stations.

Organizers said Monday that more than 10,000 people ran the course Saturday raising some $35,000 for Futures Without Violence.

According to the Futures Without Violence website, the organization works to prevent domestic violence by developing innovative programs and policies that support victims, survivors, helping them get to safety and by educating individuals about the issues and the critical roles everyone has in preventing abuse.

According to the group, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends and nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current, or former, spouse or boyfriend during the relationship.

The group also estimates that one in three women, internationally, will be beaten, raped or otherwise abused during their lifetimes.

In most cases, by a member of their own family, the group found.

It also estimates the cost of intimate partner rape, physical assault and stalking being more than $8 billion, in 2003 dollars, in the United States alone.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

Vets4Warriors Gives Struggling Veterans a Lifeline

February 18, 2018

Fatima Aguilar’s first day on the job at Vets4Warriors was anything but normal. A military veteran who’s currently enlisted as a Second Lieutenant with the New Jersey National Guard, she found herself in a potential suicide crisis situation as soon as she hit the phones.

“I started around three and a half years ago on the overnight shift, and my very first call was a US ...

South Brunswick: Volunteer Soccer Coach Charged With Possessing And Distributing Child Pornography

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – A volunteer youth soccer coach and former Sunday school teacher is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, officials said Thursday.

FBI agents and local law enforcement arrested Waldo Milla-Guerra, 49, at his Kendall Park home Thursday morning after executing a search warrant, officials said.

Milla-Guerra, a volunteer soccer coach with the ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...

Diegnan: Computer Science Now Required in New Jersey Schools

February 23, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan to require school districts to offer course in computer science and Department of Education to adopt changes to NJ Student Learning Standards in computer science has been signed into law.


“To flourish in tomorrow’s digital economy and society, our children should be learning computer ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, March 4, 3:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Staatskapelle Weimar

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 7, 2:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Arts & Entertainment

East Brunswick Public Library Holds South Asian Community Day of Wellness

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ— On Saturday, March 3, Cancer Support Community Central NJ Jersey (CSCCNJ) will be hosting a Day of Wellness at the East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center, ). This program is part of CSCCNJ’s South Asian outreach initiative, which is made possible by the Shri Krishna Nidhi (SKN) Foundation.

The Day of Wellness is being offered at no ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

EBPD: Safeguarding Students, Staff, and Residents in the Public Schools

February 20, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The East Brunswick Police Department, in cooperation with the East Brunswick Board of Education, will be assisting the school security staff by providing police officers at our township public schools. It is the goal of the East Brunswick Police Department and the East Brunswick Board of Education to safeguard our students, staff and residents at our schools on a daily basis ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...