For literally years now I have wanted to do a mud run. There are like gazillion mud runs around the country year-round (Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, etc) so there’s plenty to choose from; choosing is the easy part. The difficult part is finding friends to sign up with you. This year, I finally managed to get Husband and a close friend to be my daily workout buddies, and then convinced them both to start signing up for mud runs with me. The first one we chose to do was The Orignial Mud Run in Nashville.
We ran The Original Mud Run 10k this past Saturday. You read that right. 10k. We signed up for the 10k because we wanted to do every obstacle available and convinced ourselves we could easily prepare for a 10k. We planned to continue P90x3 while adding running a few days a week. However, summer vacations and illnesses threw us off schedule and September snuck up on us real fast. We stuck to our P90X3 workouts, but we only ran 3 times before the 10K. Again, you read that right…3 times. We thought it wouldn’t be so bad because the race would be broken up by obstacles. After all, we are in good shape.
I learned something very important after running that 10k Saturday… you can be in great shape and not be in good shape to run. Holy Cow, 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) is a long long way! It was VERY hot and mostly in direct sunlight, which is not at all like working out in a big air-conditioned room. We walked quite a bit more than I thought we would, but so did everyone else. With all that being said, we still kicked butt! I’m fairly certain we were third in our group to finish. (They don’t time the fun run so I can’t be sure.) We may not have been the best runners, but we have great stamina and we rocked the obstacles!
I did this particular race (and signed up for others in the near future) because I want to experience the different runs, review them and share the results with you. That being said, I am going to be very honest because I want you to know exactly what you are signing up for/purchasing/getting yourself into when you read my reviews. I had a lot of fun during the Mud Run, but was very disappointed at the same time.
We arrived to race site an hour early to pick up numbers and shirts, as suggested. It took about 30 seconds to park, get our stuff and be in place for the race. It was nice to get everything done so quickly, but then we were stuck in the hot sun with way too much time to stretch and nothing else to do. There were a few tents set up selling gear, but no tents for shade. No refreshments or snacks and really nothing to do, but wait. There was a shady area under some nearby trees, which seemed like the best place to stand. When we got close we warned not to go any further because there were two dogs tied up in the shade that were not friendly. Boo. Our race also started 15 minutes late, which was especially frustrating because it was an abnormally hot September day and only getting hotter. (I HIGHLY recommend singing up for these runs in cooler weather.) After what seemed like hours, the race finally began.
The website advertised 30+ obstacles for the 10k and I was told there were 32 obstacles set up. The first obstacle is said to be about a mile after the start to give everyone time to spread out. After doing some quick math I figured the other obstacles have to be about a tenth of a mile apart, right? Wrong. They were much further apart, and many of them could barely be considered obstacles. If there were actually 32 obstacles then some must have been crawling under one tree trunk or over one tire. The website also states that most obstacles contain mud and water. It would be generous to say that half do. Don’t get me wrong there were some really fun, challenging and muddy obstacles, bbuuutttt certainly not 32. In fact, not even close to 32.
There are water stations set up every mile along the course, which should be awesome because it’s not only desperately needed, but it gives you an idea of how far you’ve run and how much further you have to go. When we got to the first water station we had just finished running up 2 very steep hills in direct sun and water never looked so good. I ran to the table, grabbed a cup filled to the brim and took a nice big gulp of hot water. Yes, hot. Not even luke warm, but hot water. The volunteers at the water stations had poured numerous cups of water in advance, but by the time we got to the water stations the water had been heated up by the sun and was not exactly refreshing. Talk about disappointment. It was better than nothing, but I don’t think it would have been difficult to supply us with cold water.
One mis-advertised obstacle turned out to be pretty humorous. Before the race began, the announcer guy told us that no water on the course would be over 3 feet deep. About halfway through the race we came to two giant mud puddles separated by a mound of mud. The volunteer stopped us and said, “The first puddle is shallow, the second is a little deeper.” Husband went first. He splashed to his ankles in the first puddle, went over the mound in the middle and jumped into the second puddle, which very surprisingly went up to his shoulders. After recovering from laughter, Bella jumped in and the water came completely over her head! I was lucky enough to go last and was totally prepared to swim. This actually happened twice on the course, and we were actually happy the water was much deeper than they said. It made it a little more exciting. However, they advertise that lifeguards will be on duty if it’s over 4 feet… not true.
My Dad-in-law came to watch us run and take photos. The website says that family can “hang out at the spectator’s corral and other designated areas along the course”, which in reality was non-existent. He ended up just walking from obstacle to obstacle wherever possible, which was fine, but also inconvenient. They also said they would have vendors on site for food and drink which was nowhere to be found, and odd considering we were not allowed to bring our own food.
For me, the most disappointing part of the experience was the end. They lead you to believe that the end of the race is a big wet and wild celebration. There were supposed to be people cheering, a fire truck hosing us off, a free beer and lots of people having fun together. After our last obstacle there was a horse trailer with a sprinkler system set up to run through and clean ourselves off. I was pretty sad that they weren’t able to get a fire truck on site, but what was worse was that the finish line was after the sprinklers. So as we crossed the finish line (which had kids and parents from the kids race walking through), we were clean. The two people who came to watch us took pictures of us which looked like we just went for a swim. Everyone was wondering where the mud was. Not only were we clean, but we were basically ignored. There was one lady handing out water bottles at the finish line and that was it. No music. No people cheering. No celebrators. No beer. (The beer turned out to be in a tent about 200 yards away from the finish.) The average finishing time is said to be 2 hours. We finished in an hour and 45 minutes, which makes me really happy.
After we finished, we walked to our cars, awkwardly changed under towels and left. It was incredibly anticlimactic. In fact, the workers were already taking stuff down, cleaning up and getting ready to go and it’s not like we finished last. It cost $75 a person to do the race, which is very expensive compared to other similar races, and in my opinion you do not get what you pay for. It also costs $10 to park in a big empty field. It costs everyone $10, runners and spectators, which just seemed like money gouging.
Overall, we had fun. We felt accomplished and strong and dirty, but if I’m spending $85 I expect a lot more effort and enthusiasm to be put into the event.
The Warrior Dash is coming up in a few weeks, so hopefully I’ll have a much better review for you then. AND, hopefully, we will stick to our running schedule this month!
Has anyone else done any mud runs that you would/wouldn’t recommend?