I have now participated in four mud runs.
The first was the Warrior Dash in May 2010. My first one ever. I had not run a step in probably 18-20 years and it about killed me, even though I took almost 50 minutes to go just 3.1 miles (5k).
The second was the 6.2 miles (10k) Original Mud Run in Ft. Worth, TX in November 2010. Much longer but by then I had been running (slowly) for a few months so I weathered it better than the Warrior Dash.
The third was the Tough Mudder in Austin in January. This one as 10.2 miles (more or less). Much longer and MUCH colder. Wow. The pit filled with water and ICE was a (polar) bear!
The fourth was another Original Mud Run in Ft. Worth yesterday morning. Again, it was 6.2 miles (10k) but this time I improved a lot over my previous results. My overall time fell by 14 minutes and my pace fell by two minutes per mile.
UPDATE: I got results and pics here! =)
So, how do these three races compare? Let’s go to the tape:
Best organized? Original Mud Run. They have been doing this the longest (13 years?) and have their stuff down pat. Simple rules and instructions plus the course is well laid out and easy to follow.
Toughest? Tough Mudder had more obstacles (easy to do when you have 4 more miles to fit them in) and LOTS more up-and-down hills, climbing, upper-body-strength-requiring activities.
Most competitive? The competitive heats of the Original Mud Run seem to have the most gung-ho participants but I would not swear to that.
Most fun? Tough Mudder. They encourage cooperation on the website, in their pre-race information, and in the instructions before the race starts. It works. Even if you are not running with friends, total strangers will help you navigate the obstacles and give you both a hand up and a round of applause.
Most expensive? Tough Mudder by about $40.
Would I do it again?
- Tough Mudder – yes
- Original Mud Run – yes
- Warrior Dash – no
I don’t think I’ll do short ones (sub-5 mile runs like the Warrior Dash or Jailbreak) anymore just because it isn’t worth the money to me.
Overall, I think the Tough Mudder is my favorite of the bunch.
TIPS FOR MUD RUNNERS:
- Help each other. Even if it’s just an encouraging word, help. If someone is having trouble with an obstacle, help them. If it’s you, ask for help rather than give up and go around. Camaraderie is easy to generate at these events if you try and it definitely makes it a lot more fun.
- No fatigues and boots. I know some of the races talk about wearing cammies/fatigues/utes and combat boots. There is no need to wear any of that unless you are trying to challenge yourself a bit extra. Want to carry ten+ extra pounds of water weight as you slog through the mud and muck? Go for it. But you most certainly do NOT need to wear those things to “protect” yourself . . . unless you are delicate in which case what the heck are you doing participating in a mud run in the first place?
- No pockets. In fact, don’t wear anything with pockets. Why? Because when you come up out of the water they may be filled with water and muck. Adding extra weight is not as much fun as you may think. 😉
- No jewelry. I came with an inch of losing my wedding ring on my first mud run. The mud sucks these things off of your hands and neck, and the obstacles do their damnedest to grab hold of them as well. Leave them at home or in your bag.
- Run early. Later in the day, the course is torn up from the thousand people who have run it before you. Try to get into the earliest heat on the earliest day that you can. A fresh course is a better course.
- SMILE. This is fun, remember? =)
I hope the reviews above and the tips below help you out if you are considering a mud run. I encourage you to do it. Big or small, long or short, ultimate or deliberately weekend warrior, it doesn’t matter; the point is to accomplish something. Once you’ve done that, you’ll hunger for more . . . and that’s a good thing.
I walked for much of the three miles of the Warrior Dash, but I was damned proud to have done it. Even more so for finishing the Tough Mudder in January and for improving on my Original Mud Run performance from one race to another.
If I can do it, you can.
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them or to point you in the right direction.
Breakfast: protein shake, kombucha, AGG
Lunch: half of a Freebirds burrito (double steak, etc.), Cissus, AGG
Dinner: two pork chops, romaine salad with bacon ranch, Baco’s, and sliced, cold steak
Other food throughout the day: black coffee