Saturday, August 6: Two knuckleheads eastbound and down on Highway 20 who are, as usual, hopelessly late for their assigned starting time…
“Okay so take the next exit and make a right.”
“You mean a left.”
“Nope. A right.”
“Dude, we have been to dozens of races out in this part of town. The horse park is to the left.”
“Yeah but this one’s at a different venue.”
“Wait a minute… A different venue? That’s just crazy.”
“I know right?”
The Udder Mud Run took place in Covington, Georgia this past Saturday and for the first time I decided to participate. For the past couple years I’ve skipped this event because, well, their logo’s a cow… an upside down cow. I mean c’mon ORCs are supposed to invoke the imagery of ancient unshaven warriors. So how fierce could it be? But this year I decided to give it a go and what a fantastic decision that turned out to be. I’m sure a wiser man would learn something about judging books by covers or some other such nonsense because, as it turns out, The Udder Mud Run is a fabulous event that shouldn’t be missed by anyone.
The main course was just over 4 miles (7 km) long and consisted of roughly 40 obstacles. That’s right 40 obstacles. Most courses don’t come anywhere near that even when they’re twice the distance. The obstacles ranged from OCR standards such as 8 and 10 foot walls, low crawls, and mud trenches to the more unique such as the lube tube, rolling nightmare, and pipe web. More on those in a bit.
The race (and each successive wave) began with a thunderous firework exploding above the starting line. Pretty cool as long as you didn’t have a PTSD flashback of your time in The Nam. Within 20 feet of the start line was a small dirt mound. Ah, first obstacle easy-peasy. Little did one realize that this mound was perfectly hiding some thick ankle-deep mud. Well, let that set the tone for things to come as this course contained copious amounts of mud with over a dozen obstacles requiring you to be in it and a handful more landing you in should you fall off. Without a doubt the Udder Mud Run lived up to the “Mud” part of its name.
Other interesting obstacles include the Rolling Nightmare, a set of free spinning barrels strung across a waist-deep mud pit. In essence a smaller scale version of Tough Mudder’s Block Ness Monster that uses round blocks. This was a fun obstacle that for the overwhelming majority of people required assistance. During my run through I didn’t see anyone that could launch themselves past that critical point of no return and make it to the other side without help. Many tried but simply just wound up spinning the barrel and falling backwards in failure. Thankfully there was a mini contingent of Grey Berets helping folks over. I appreciated the assistance and do feel bad about kicking one in the head as I went over the top with all the poise and grace of a fish flopping on the dock. Sorry mate.
Then there’s the Lube Tube or as I prefer to call it Porn Star Tryouts. What a clever obstacle this was. A PVC tube about 18 or so inches in diameter and a good 15 foot long situated over a mud puddle that racers needed to shimmy across from one end to the other. No problem right? Wrong. THESE PVC PIPES WERE GREASED! That’s right the pipes were as slippery as could be and simply staying atop them was, shall we say, problematic. But staying on top was just the beginning of the frustration – some form of forward movement was also needed. Of the two techniques I observed, the Bear Hug & Inch Worm Forward style didn’t appear work nearly as well as the Upright Ride’em Cowboy style. Thanks to the multitude of lovely racers for the demonstrations of proper technique. A big thumbs up to whatever evil genius devised this exercise in frustration.
Overall The Udder Mud Run’s obstacles ranged from pretty easy to quite challenging to must get help. The array of obstacles were interesting in that they tended to be more balance and agility oriented with no heavy carries and few tests of upper strength. This resulted in an event where both men and women were pretty much on equal footing. But one thing did leave me a bit disappointed. With the races logo being upside down cow how could cow tipping would not be a featured obstacle on today’s course? Oh well, always room for improvement I guess.
And now for a quick look at how they handled the key basics:
|Parking||Parking was free and, unlike that other venue on this side of town, only a very short walk to check in|
|Check In||If you printed out your ticket and waiver ahead of time, like the OCR pro you are, check in took all of 30 seconds.|
|Included Items||Like all events you got a t-shirt, which was a nice quality cotton. For an extra $5 you could have upgraded to a dry fit material. While the cotton is nice I wish I had upgraded. Oh and extra credit for a shirt that’s an actual color as opposed to black or grey. The finisher medal was a little rinky dinky but still quite acceptable.|
|Freebies||This was billed as a “family” event so no finisher beer this time. Instead they had ice cream. Now that’s an upgrade!|
|Volunteers||All OCRs live and die by the quantity and quality of the volunteers. The Udder had a huge number of volunteers at every spot on the course. They all had very positive attitudes and in several places were right down in the mud with you to lend a helping hand. I can’t say enough positive about them. They made the event the success that it was. As a matter of fact there was one spot on the course where a volunteer saw me struggling up a particularly nasty little slope. He yelled many encouraging things including that there was plenty of cold water available just at the top. That helped me dig a little deeper. But when I got to the top, lo and behold waiting for me was not a much-needed water station but rather an arctic enema style ice bath. Well played, sir…well played.|
|Festival Grounds||Fairly humble as one would expect at a local event. They were friendly to tents and such being set up.|
|Value for Dollar||Excellent|
|Water Stations||There were plenty of water stations throughout the course at roughly one-mile intervals. All stations were well-stocked with cups and water.|
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Udder Mud Run is billed as a family-friendly fun event. And while it absolutely is, don’t be fooled into taking this event too lightly. This is a legit OCR from start to finish with parts that will both amuse and challenge you. I have to give it top marks and look forward to getting at it again next year. Ignore what Bart has to say…