The San Luis Obispo (SLO) 5k Mud Mash was an aesthetically pleasing course and a well-run event. This was their 4th annual event held at Laguna Lake and they promised it would be better, cooler, awesome-er, and epic-er than past years. I had participated in the 2011 Mud Mash and thought the course was simple yet fun. However, this year I was excited to do it again because of their debut of new obstacles. They made it clear that it was going to be better and I have to say that Mud Mash did in fact bring their ‘A’ game this year.
SLO is a small, green town therefore “reduce, reuse, recycle” is always appreciated. This race stressed their environmentally friendly ways. Their motto is “zero waste and leave no trace.” Most of the wood used on the wood obstacles was repurposed from somewhere else. Racers were even encouraged to bring their own water bottle to refill at aid stations, to lessen the amount of paper cups used. Preserving nature is a great thing in my book so kudos to you, Mud Mash! Some of the proceeds go to benefit SLO County Special Olympics and also to help expand thebike trail system in SLO.
Pre-race Bib Pick-up
Wasn’t too thrilled. Pre-race pick-up was the day before race day, from 5-7pm, located at the race venue. I arrived at 5:07pm hoping to beat the crowd and thought I wouldn’t be there longer than 5 minutes, but it didn’t turn out that way. Their check-in method was rather inefficient, they were short on staff, and the race shirts were unavailable because they were being printed. I picked up the shirt on race day only to find that the shirts run too small, and of course the whole world wanted to exchange their shirt for a larger one. Bummer.
Parking was not a problem. There was a “VIP parking” option for $10 that would guarantee you a spot inside the venue. Free parking was also available a couple of miles from the venue that provided mud mashers with free shuttle service.
Before the Race
Registration check-in was again one long, single-file line but nobody seemed to mind. Then again, I was in San Luis Obispo, voted the “Happiest City in America.” The event provided racers with free bag check-in. Woo-hoo, kudos again! The announcer/host was great, which added to the awesome energy around me. There were lots of people who joined in on the whacky fun by wearing costumes. I also noticed that the event directors, coordinators, and other staff from the race, knew many of the participants, which added to the friendly atmosphere.
The length of the course was 4 aesthetically pleasing miles. There were great views of the lake, mountains, hills, and even had horses roaming the field. Less than a quarter mile into the race, while we crossed 100 yards through the muddy lake, I overheard someone say the popular OCR phrase, “Whose idea was this?” That’s when I knew things were off to a good start. The course was relatively flat with a couple of hills, and had 18 obstacles that were scattered throughout. There were walls, inverted walls, balance beams, barbed wire and of course, mud. There were also other creative obstacles on the course, one of which was called “High Flyer” which incorporated a rock-climbing type of obstacle. Here blocks of wood were drilled into a vertical sheet of plywood that was about 15 feet high. The “rock climbing” wall offered a variation of skill level from beginner to more advance. Once to the top, racers climbed a horizontal cargo net and went down the other side through a ladder. One downfall was the congestion of people due to the fact that only 4 people can go up the wall at one time. Plus, most participants waited to take their chance on the beginner section of the wall.Nonetheless, this was acool and unique obstacle. The last half-mile of the course was downhill that led to a large mud pit, in which the host happily greeted everyone who was going through it. The gladiators then did their job of bullying people just before crossing the finish line. All finishers were then handed a finishers glass cup and there it was, mission complete!
The After Party:
The after party energy was great! Those of legal drinking age were granted one free locally brewed beer at the end of the race. To minimize waste our “medal” came in handy. No actual medal was given here instead we earned a cool beer glass cup which was used to fill with cold beer.
Extras Offered at the Race:
Free miniature golf and corn hole, free kids race, free post race snacks (bananas & oranges), $5 agility course race.
It was clear that the intention of this race was not to destroy racers instead it was a family friendly, fun race that brought the community together. Overall, it was a good course. It would be categorized as challenging for a first time OCR experience, and a walk in the mud for an avid OCR racer. They made great use of their venue and delivered a well-organized event. If you happen to be in the “Happiest City in America,” I recommend you check out Mud Mash.