Today I participated in my first, and hopefully not last, mud run. It is a run/obstacle course, Merrell Down and Dirty, sponsored by Subaru. The course consists of running through challenging terrain, including steep hills and unpaved woodland, successfully navigating military style obstacles and mud pools. You feel the burn and get muddy. I can’t think of a better way to spend a beautiful Sunday morning.
Sound like something you may want to try? I say go for it! Before you register for an upcoming Mud Run, let me share with you some of my impressions of the race.
- 1455 10K finishers and 3126 5K finishers for the 2011 Mud Run. That is a heck of a lot of racers for year 2 of the Philly Mud Run.
- The running bits of the course were challenging, beginning with an uphill start. I was running strong and navigating quite well through the unpaved wilderness sections of the run. With any sport, there is a level of danger and the mud run is not exception. As I was completing the wilderness section, a little over 2 miles into the course, I rolled my ankle. After bounding over an obstacle, I met up with a medic to assess the damage to my ankle. He gave me an icepack, wrapped it around my ankle and advised me to walk. I felt no pain while standing or walking so off I walked for a mile then cautiously picked up to a slow job on a downhill. The foot felt fine and I continued that way till the finish line. Rule #1 – SAFETY FIRST
- The obstacles varied in complexity but were easily surmounted. Volunteers and military personnel at every obstacle gave help if needed. Some of the volunteers acted like a Drill Sargent which really gave a motivational push to get your butt over, under or through the obstacle.
- Water stations were plentiful and scattered through the course. I strongly recommend leaving your water bottle at home and use the water stations to quench your thirst.
- Wear fitted clothing as this may prevent clothing from catching on obstacles. However, it will not prevent mud from oozing everywhere on your body. Leave your jewelry at home as well.
- Come to the race well hydrated and fueled as this course will challenge you (in a good way) so you want to make sure your body is ready to go.
- Make sure your D-tag is securely fastened. This tag electronically calculates your time from start to finish. I came across a D-tag on the path and thought how sad it would be to lose the tag in the middle of the race.
- The wave starts were well-organized, yet I still jump every time I hear a gun start.
- Mud Runs are far better with friends participating.
- If this is your first time running this course, take your time. There are many terrains and obstacles that you typically don’t meet in the course of your running. Don’t worry about time, just enjoy the course and use this run as a benchmark to beat for your next mud run.
- Communal showers post race with ice-cold water is better than you might imagine. The one thing I love about running diverse body types and the supportive nature of fellow runners. You don’t have to be a “10” to run, heck most runners don’t meet that inflated expectation. We all understand and respect the hard work it takes to stand at the starting line instead of laying on a couch.
- Don’t lose your meal ticket! Food always tastes better after a long run.
- To be clear, the official drink after any race is Gatorade mixed with water. However, runners on occasion do make exceptions – in moderation.
- As you complete the last mud puddle before approaching the finish line, don’t forget to plaster a big smile as you climb out of the mud. Finish line photos take less than a second to take, yet goof ball photo finishes last for eternity on the intertube. Just Don’t Do It.
- Don’t forget to take care of any wounds or sprains that occur during the run. You do want to live and run another day.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my run today despite the setbacks and look forward to jumping in the mud next year. I hope to see you there as well 🙂