Running Events Around the Continent, Part 1

With the change in the weather, I have been a little preoccupied with getting outside.  I don’t mind the chilliness as much as I do the ice, snow and salt that winter weather entails.  Because I just want to get out and have some fun, I started thinking about what events were being offered around the continent this year.

Since the ground is a bit moist and squishy, I’m going to talk about one of the newer race genres—The Mud Run. Typically most of these are less of a distance than a classic endurance event and involve obstacles and as the name implies, some sort of mud. Not a little speckle on your shoe, either. Most Mud Run Series show pictures of participants coated and caked in mud. As with the obstacles, how muddy you actually get is dependent upon your level of daring and determination.

The only one of the featured three that I have attempted is the Muddy Buddy.

muddy-buddy-logo-squareThere are actually two types of Muddy Buddy events, a team event and a bike/run event. The team Muddy Buddy Run consists of a course 3-4½ miles in length, 5-9 obstacles and involves the pair staying together, as some of the obstacles require a team effort to complete. The Bike/Run event also involves a team, but this team does not race together until the very last obstacle, the mud pit. This event’s course is 6-7 miles and has team members alternating where one team member runs to the next obstacle, while the opposite team member bikes to it, parks the bike, completes the obstacle and then becomes the running team mate.

The Muddy Buddy Series is hosting 9 events across the United States in 2013.

In my opinion, this is a fun event that would have a challenge rating of easy or moderate for the obstacles. Participants receive an event T-shirt and bib for registering.

WarriorDash_logo_backsplash_RGB

Another series that is gaining rapidly in popularity is the Warrior Dash. The first Warrior Dash was held in 2009. In 2013, there will be 39 Warrior Dashes across the US and Canada. The Warrior Dash is a 3-4 mile course with 8-12 obstacles. The obstacle challenges are more involved, daring and even more dangerous than in other similar events. This race can be done as an individual or as a group. All obstacles are at the participant’s discretion, although skipping one could lead to disqualification from prizes.

This looks to be an enjoyable event that would rank moderate or difficult on a challenge scale for its obstacles depending upon your physical and mental abilities. Participants receive a bib, event T-shirt, fuzzy Viking hat, finisher medal and a ‘complimentary’ glass of beer after crossing the finish line (subject to local laws and ordinances) with their registration. I would like to do this event this summer when it is near me, or maybe take a weekend trip to visit friends and do it near their place.

logo_tough-mudderThe final Mud Run event I am highlighting today is the Tough Mudder. This is the ‘granddaddy’ of them all. The Tough Mudder was designed by former British Special Forces officers to simulate the training required to join that prestigious unit. The course is 10-12 miles and 25-30 obstacles. These obstacles are not for the faint of heart. They are dangerous, if you are not prepared. Challenges involve: diving in ice cold water, up to a mile through a mud pit, live electricity, jumping from 15’+ into water, fire, tight spaces, and complete submersion under water/mud. Team participation is encouraged but not required.

This is an extremely difficult and challenging course. Although obstacles can be skipped if felt unsafe or hazardous to your health and well being. Participants receive a race bib, an event T-shirt, an event sweat band and entry into the after party with their registration. Finishers receive a complementary beer (where local laws and ordinances permit). This is an event that a group of friends and I have been discussing participating in. I do not see this on my calendar for 2013, but I could easily see it appearing by 2014 or 2015 at the latest.

What do you think about Mud Runs? If you were to do one, what type would you look to do? Would you travel for one or do one that was local? I look forward to hearing your opinions on this genre of running and sharing others in the future.

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