Yes, there is a mud in the photo above… lots of it, in fact. When I tell people that I am running a Spartan Race or, in this case, the Warrior Dash, a lot of them say it’s a mud run. There are a lot of misconceptions between mud runs and OCR (obstacle course racing). I will do my best to define the two and maybe help some of you differentiate them.
A mud run is typically set up by a group as a fundraiser or another type of run instead of the traditional 5k or 10k road race. Mud runs may or may not contain obstacles, because the events tend to focus more on muddiness. These events also tend to be less competitive. It’s more of the ‘weekend warrior’ type event where the participants are having a good time getting dirty – usually taking a clean before and a dirty after picture to commemorate the run. Many times, OCR competitors use mud runs as a training run for more competitive events as the mud runs are closer to home in many cases.
Obstacle course races are different because they are usually set up as timed events with a strict performance standard for the obstacles. In addition, at some races there are penalties when an obstacle is skipped or not completed to standard. Obstacle races will have tougher obstacles than a typical mud run, such as rope climbs, stone carries or water traverses. These obstacles require more physically fit competitors.
Mud runs and obstacle course races are fun for those that are tired of the one foot in front of the other road races that have been around for ages. These runs take participants off the beaten path (literally) and out of the person’s normal comfort zone.
For more information about these races, click one of the links below or Google the terms ‘mud run’ or ‘obstacle course race’ with your state or area to see what is available for you.
Spartan Race – several levels of competition. Some courses have a Biggest Loser heat…
Tough Mudder – check out the Arctic Enema. Not for the feint of heart.
Warrior Dash – good entry level racing. Climbing and mud obstacles on the courses.
Zombie Run – you can run as the survivor or the zombie. Includes night racing opportunities.
Ultimate Challenge Mud Run – a South Carolina run that has grown from a mud run to a full-fledged OCR event.
GoRuck Challenge – one of the ultimate tests of your fitness… you never know what you’ll get!
There are tons more of these races popping up around the country. A quick Google search will give you a list of them in your area, state or other parts of the world. My biggest piece of advice – TRAIN. Many of the series have emailed workouts where you can get yourself into race-ready shape. Advice part #2 – eat right. Nutrition is key to completing the race – you are using your entire body instead of just the movements involved with road racing. Advice part #3 – hydrate. Water is your friend and you will see a lot of racers using hydration packs (Geigerrig or Camelbak) on the longer runs.
Enjoy the races… get out of your comfort zone and enjoy the world around you. Even if you have to get dirty to do it!