Mud Endeavor Under the Lights, gets 2 thumbs up! It was a night-time race which was held at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City, FL and the creator of this course, used a lot of imagination to make this work. Who would have thought you could put a 5k course in such a limited space and pull it off? With lots of mud, water, music and a great party atmosphere, Mud Endeavor did. The course was concentrated enough within one area to where you could almost always hear the music blaring and the heats behind you taking off. It was by no means the most difficult OCR I have done, but it certainly was one of the most fun ones.
The race started with us winding around and running up and down man-made mud hills. Lots of them! These were the majority of the running sections throughout the race. Since we did not run in the first heat, these were ankle-deep with mud by the time we got there. Just enough mud to make your feet heavy and your legs a little tired. This is a great way to thin out runners though at the start of a race.
I always love a 5k OCR that has a lot of obstacles since I would much rather be jumping over a wall than running. Even though I always try to keep count, midway through I always lose track but there were at least 15, maybe more. There were some, which you see often, walls and cargo net climbs but then the creativity kicked in. The most creative obstacle, after you had run through a building blaring music like a club, was an ice water crawl through the dark. There was dry ice creating fog so you really could not see anything, it was basically stay low and crawl fast. There was another obstacle where there were 3 large drainpipes stacked on top of each other long ways that you had to climb up and over. This may sound easy, but it stopped a lot of people because they were so slippery when wet. One of the fairground barns was used for a spider web type obstacle. Under the cover of black lights, which provided just enough light to see where you were going, you had to weave your way through this web in the dark. My favorite, the rope climb was unique as you didn’t have to climb the entire thing, but instead had to use it to pull yourself on top of a 10+ foot wall.
Huge win on safety. Even though this was a nighttime race, the fair grounds were completely illuminated so you never felt concerned about safety. We all wondered how we were going to do this at night with no headlamps, but there was never a need for them – it was almost like running in the daytime. There were also volunteers at every obstacle, and multiple volunteers in places that were dark, like the barn. Checking in and parking were smooth processes, and results were posted on site almost immediately, some of the things that can easily destroy the mood of a race.
Although the majority of the Mud Endeavor races are in Florida, they did travel to Anderson, SC this year. Most of the events are daytime events and we just happened to be lucky enough to catch them Under the Lights. I would keep my eyes on this race series as they have it together and are drawing big crowds! Racers beware: sign up for the heat you want to race, this was my first race where they give different colored bands for each heat! That means sign up for the heat in which you want to compete!