Children have always known that all you need is a little dirt and water to have a lot of fun.
But while adults still admonish children to “stay out of the mud,” they themselves are now flocking to the mud and reveling in the opportunity to get down and dirty. And we’re not talking about the type of mud renowned for its healing properties, such as Israel’s Dead Sea, where people travel from around the world to bathe in its mud; we’re talking about the garden variety slop you can whip up in your own backyard with a bare patch and a hose.
Even the would-be runners who haven’t managed to drag themselves from the couch to a 5K are donning tutus and heading for the nearest mud run to wallow in the muck and enjoy a post-race drumstick and a celebratory beer or three.
But, be advised: Mud Run HQ recommends some form of physical training prior to tackling your first mud run.
A typical mud run is three to six miles long with obstacles designed to challenge your strength and stamina, encourage team work, and cover you with as much mud as possible. Mudrunhq.com describes these runs as “just about the wildest events you can take part in, not to mention just about the dirtiest fun you can have without taking your clothes off!” And, given the things I witnessed at my first mud run in 2010, I’d have to agree; it’s a pretty wild time, indeed.
The inaugural Warrior Dash, possibly the most well-known of the mud runs, took place in July 2009 in Joliet, IL with 2,000 participants, and the event’s popularity has been steadily rising ever since. This year the franchise will operate races in 40 locations across the U.S. with participant numbers topping 8,000 in most races. But Warrior Dash is not the only company willing to sling mud.
The popularity of mud runs has spawned countless events, from the grueling 10–12 mile Tough Mudder designed by British Special Forces to test mental as well as physical strength in the face of obstacles that prey on common human fears, such as fire and heights, to the Muddy Buddy which throws mountain biking into the mix.
And you don’t have to travel far to get your mud fix; most states offer multiple mud runs each year. Maryland, for example, will play host to as many as 13 mud runs, including the Rebel Race, Running Dirty, Run For Your Lives, and Rugged Maniac.
One of my local parks got in on the action with a mud run of its own. The inaugural Carroll Mud Run, while not quite as muddy or challenging as some of the more well-known and established events, was more family-friendly than most and was enthusiastically supported by local businesses and more than 500 participants, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the area recreation council and local fire department, which, along with Mother Nature, was responsible for the mud-making.
So, if you’re ready to get down and dirty, visit www.mudrunninghq.com to locate a mud run near you.