Mudraces offer a new kind of fun

Katie Johnston,

Planning a stay-cation this summer and looking for something new to try? Consider trying a new type of 5K event, one where you get purposefully messy.

Mud runs are off-road 5k races with a twist; various obstacles are placed along the route. Obstacles vary from the many different mud runs, but all of them have one thing in common: lots and lots of mud.

In all of the races, participants run a short distance, then have to overcome obstacles, such as climbing over something, sliding down a mud slide, swimming across a river or overcoming ropes, and having to army crawl through a long mud pit, to complete the event.

In the Warrior Race, runners have to jump over fire as an obstacle. Many races offer participants the choice of competing in the race as an individual or team. Some groups show up in themed costumes like superheroes, or army outfits.

“The race was fun because it was our first mud run for all of us,” said Liza Geist, athlete and first place winner of women’s division, a group of 1044, “we are avid triathletes and runners, I also like to do group exercises at the gym so whatever keeps exercise new and fun, I’m game!”

Geist’s husband, Don, took fourth overall in the men’s division.
The “Muddy Buddy” race is a team race. It is a traditional 5k mud run, but with a teammate or partner for the entire race. Another option is the bike and run race, which is longer than a 5k at six to seven miles, where one partner begins on an off-road bike and the other begins on foot. After the first obstacle, partners switch and continue to take turns running and biking throughout the race.

“The most challenging part is probably the unknown, we didn’t know what to expect as far as the obstacles! This was the inaugural race for mud crusade, so there were no videos, photos to watch or look at of prior races,” Geist said.

Weather also plays a large part in the mud runs. The morning of Geist’s race there was lightening and heavy rain. In the end, it seemed to be to the racers advantage, as the track was extra muddy with perfect skies and sunshine.

Each group has its own twist for the mud run. For example, the Warrior Dash gives each participant a set of fuzzy warrior helmets. The Hillbilly Pork chop Mud run hides rubber pigs throughout the race and there is a prize for the person who carries the most to the finish.

“Both my husband and I walked away with gashes, cuts and bruises. I totally wiped out running around a curve due to the slippery mud,” said Geist.

The Color Run rules state that runners must begin the race in an all white or mostly white shirt at the beginning of the race and end covered in color. At the completion of each kilometer, volunteers shower the runners in an environmentally safe powdered paint pigment, beginning with yellow, then green, blue, purple and finally pink. The end of race celebration ends with participants using the left over paint to cover every inch in color.

These runs typically have about 600 participants and sell out pretty quickly. Racers are released in waves to accommodate the vast numbers. Most races include a t-shirt, swag bag, and meal.

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