Udder Mud Run 2014 was the second year of existence and first time I participated. While I heard many great things about the 2013 inaugural race, I expected much less of this local, backyard event and was greatly surprised. A lot of planning and effort went into the 4.5 mile course making this a great day for all who got dirty!
It was a cool, overcast morning, perfect for a mud run. I arrived early for the elite heat and found the free parking close to the venue and well managed. We were routed through the waiver section first and then sent to bib pickup. Everything was well thought out and we were processed quickly and efficiently. In no time I was inside meeting friends and getting pumped up with the pre-race music coming from the DJ area.
The emcee called us to the starting corral and pumped us up for the race. The start line was covered with all the local regulars and people were stretching and warming up, excited to get into the obstacles. They called Pastor Alex Vicaro, who gave a noble prayer asking for thick mud, slippery obstacles and the strength and desire to overcome it all. Then we heard the beautiful voices of Ava Teasley and Dakota Pirtle who took turns singing the National Anthem before each heat. Smoke was dropped and the cannon exploded signifying the start of the race. Only 10 feet from the start line, hidden by the smoke bomb was the first mud pit, perfectly camouflaged blending in with the rest of the trail. We got stuck in the thick, heavy mud and it was a great surprise to the start of our race.
As we ran up over the hill we came to our next obstacle, the spider web. This was a new one from last year and had rope lines criss-crossing high and low and in all directions making it difficult to get through. After navigating that, we came into a field where there was a huge mud bog being fed with water from large agricultural water trucks. The hoses rained water all around making this mud hole a slow pit for crossing. Back into the woods to navigate through wood piles and 8 foot walls we reached the next area of obstacles. There was a watery tunnel crawl, followed by a large slippery PVC pipe covered with lube which many fell off sideways because it was too difficult to hang on. We moved through a muddy-water over/under section with logs and then the kiddy slides. They were only 6 feet long but layed on a cross-beam at a 65 degree angle in the middle of a water pit making it nearly impossible to get up and over! There was another pit of water with a matrix of ropes only inches above which you had to pass underneath while laying on your back with only your face exposed. The way out of this pit was a slippery 8 foot wall with a rope.
Another run through the hills, woods, across streams and ravines and we came to the next area of madness! At first there was a 10 foot wall. To get over the wall you were assisted up from the bottom and then reached up for the hands of the volunteers at the top. Choice of ways down was a ladder or a pole slide. Next was a tire suspended 4 feet in the air which you had to get through. I saw many hang up here. A few attempted to dive through and some pulled themselves up and kicked their legs through with ease. After another lubed PVC scoot we got to the first huge downhill slip and slide. It was probably 100 yards long emptying into a muddy creek at the bottom, if you could make it that far. Later while running with Michael Mills and the Dirtbags, we spent about 30 min running up the hill and sliding down. We commandeered the nearby tubes and went for races, tandem, and for distance. This was the most fun part of the race!
More mud tunnels and a cargo net later we reached one of my favorite obstacles – the monkey bars. These bars were another new addition to the course and were actually several sections of cattle gates on top of a 4X4 frame with a pvc sprinkler system attached constantly shooting water. They warned us that the red ones were slippery and they weren’t lying! Only 42 out of 800+ participants made it through to find the surprise at the end, a shoe-sucking area of mud that looked like a completely harmless place to drop down into. With the mud past our knees we crawled out and back onto the trail to the next section of fun.
We reached the lake crossing which was more than waist high and a second slip and slide which was situated atop a well formed hill that emptied into a big mud pit. There were logs to climb over and then a run through a couple fields and back into a small section of woods, which would be home to the last obstacle before the finish line, named the humps. We dropped into mud pits, climbed over the muddy humps for three sections and finally out and across the finish line where the fans and spectators were cheering.
They had high powered hoses and shower heads and there were changing tents for those who wanted to go home clean. There was a concession area with delicious smelling BBQ available and Athletics8, Playout cards and other vendors were there showing off their stuff. All in all it was a great course, with enthusiastic and helpful volunteers and even free Chobani Yogurt and Mayfield Ice Cream samples in the festival area. I’m already looking forward to this race next year as it will be on my to do list!
*Photos By: Peter McNairy