A Gator Mud Run Race Review, Waldo, Florida
Waldo, Florida? Never heard of it. Seriously, even Google Maps struggled with getting me to the race venue; but once I got there and saw about 15 wooden obstacles all within my field of view, and they all looked cool, I knew I was in for a killer morning of racin’.[fve]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_C_61oWrjU[/fve]
Who cares? I never have anything to say about race organization ‘cuz I really just don’t care. I’m there for one thing – playing on big-boy toys while I run through the woods. I really don’t care what the shirt looks like, how long the lines are, nor what kind of ‘swag’ we get at packet pickup. If you like that kind of stuff, my reports will not be your thing.
This is what I care about most. I’ve always judged OCRs on one standard – Spartan Race. I’ve always had the best experiences at Spartan races in the past; however, the last few felt cookie-cutter, and more designed around ease of the course designers, not the enjoyment of the athletes. I guess that’s what happens when you get huge and have to franchise a process.
Gator Mud Run was a nice surprise. Having dipped out of OCR for awhile, I was excited to race again, and Gator promised 40 badass obstacles, over 5K distance.
That’s a lot of obstacles.
Blow by Blow
Let’s see how much I can remember… Ready, go:
- After the starting gun, the front pack bunches up, leaping a few waist-high log jumps and shaking out the butterflies.
- We got to the first of a crap-load of wall ascents. Lines started forming? …Really? I charged ahead and got over the damn wall. The elite division is the money division, and lines don’t make sense. Race like ya wanna win, ma’an.
- Ducked into the fringe of some woods, jumped more walls, stepped through some tires. Nothing crazy …yet.
- Next, the quintessential series of up-and-down mud pits followed. You could actually jump across a couple of them without ever getting in them, but I don’t think volunteers knew what to do when that went down.
- Ropes. Rope climb was pretty standard. ~20 feet, with knots. Let’s be real, knots make it easy, but that’s ok. It was fun.
- An interesting “barrel hop” obstacle came next. We ran up an inclined plank of wood, and then leaped across a series of full, plastic barrels. Cool obstacle. Very unique.
- And then, egad. The sliding obstacle, which really isn’t an obstacle, but I get called an a-hole whenever I slam slides in races, so, well… I’m still saying slides are lame. Sorry, they just are. At least I got wet, and cooled off for 3 seconds.
- More raised log jumpin’, more wall scalin’, and then came the pegs. Horizontal traverse using pegs and rock-climbing holds. Cool obstacle. maybe my favorite.
- More walls, more mud waddlin’, and then those crazy floating boards you see in races. You have to try to run across them, over water, and not fall in. I know the strategy, so I moved through this pretty quickly. I stopped to thank some volunteers and take a sip of a mystery drink. Story for another time…
- A few underwater pipe crawls, and we found ourselves at three A-frame setups. The challenge? Run up the step slant as fast as you can, hope you make it about 12-14 feet to a piece of rope to use to hoist yourself all the way over. Lots of failures and thus burpees happening here, and I’m glad I wasn’t one of them.
- 2.1 miles in and I could still see the front guys. Race is going well. I’m gassed, but happy and excited and fulfilled.
- Next obstacle, flip tires. A strong man’s love. This was really too easy. Two flips? come on, RDs, make it 10 at least.
- Jumped in the water for a 100 yard swim. Not much to say about that other than, “ahhhhh… nice and cool.”
- The last obstacles were designed to pin people down right before the finish (which is brilliant).
- Trampoline launches to Tarzan ropes, and floating boards came next. I chose the ropes. Tarzan swings are my jam.
- Next, the rings. I have rings at my office. I train rings all the time. At the Ninja gym in Atlanta, I used rings-based obstacles to warm-up before every training session. I NEVER bust on rings… I busted on the rings. Simply slipped. 20 burpees was my reward.
- Lastly, there was a short barbed-wire mud crawl to get us nice and dirty for the finish line pics.
And that’s about it.
I ran the Elite wave, not because I see myself as elite, but because waiting for obstacles in the open waves is something I just can’t imagine myself doing without making hella enemies. Racing and waiting do not go well together.
Finished the race in about 33 minutes or so. Not really sure yet as the race clock was all jacked up, and we started later than expected. For me, my main goal these days in athletics is to blow the doors off of what is expected of Masters athletes. I want to show that we can be strong, fast, trained, and dedicated, just like the young athletes. Age is only a number. I expect to continue to be competitive until I die. I will run my heart out because I care about giving it my all. I just do.
Every race… every experience… they are gifts. Gifts to be treated with heart. I can’t even imagine what life would be like without these physical outlets to keep crazy-hyper dudes like me from climbing the walls. Or, let’s be honest, getting into trouble.
Great race, Gator. Thank you for the abundance of obstacles, and keep up the good work. (but, that was not 3.1 miles. Jus’ sayin….).