I just finished the Mud Dogs' Fun Mud Run. It was a 5k "fun" event. To my knowledge, this was the first mud race held at this venue (Markam Park in Sunrise, Florida), and it was the first race held by the Mud Dogs company. Those two facts combined with a $60 price, made me reluctant to sign up. They ran a $10 off Hurricane Isaac discount, so I signed up. (It was a moment of weakness.)
I must repeat, this race was advertised as a fun mud run. However, the website did say that the top 3 males and females would earn an award and the winners would earn a free entry in a future race. Naturally, I wanted to win, and thought it might be a possibility-- thinking this would be a small event.
My heat time was 8:30 a.m., the first of the day. Information via facebook advised racers to arrive an hour early. Information on packet pick up was a little late in coming out. Hopefully for the next races, they will make arrangements and disseminate packet pick up information earlier than the day of. But they also offered packet pick up on race day, so for me this wasn't a big deal.
Yikes! This was my thought as we pulled in the park. Cars were very backed up, and I realized this event was MUCH bigger than I expected. (I also heard people saying that the event was much bigger than the organizers planned, which made total sense to me.) It also explained the slightly bizarre race start. We were told that the timing sensors could only handle 100 people at each start time, so they were taking all 8:30 starters and starting us in 6 minute waves depending on our bib numbers. This was my first indication that timing could go really wrong. I ended up starting at 8:42.
The course contained typical OCR obstacles, we ran mostly along the road in the park with only about 1/2 mile on a trail. There was a push up stop (?), a small ditch filled with water, a 4- foot wall (with a step), 3-4 balance beams over little ditches, his and hers sand bag carry, hurdles, a tall wall with rungs to climb, a rope grid to high step through, a tunnel, a low crawl across grass, an incline wall (not very steep) with a jump down into about a foot of muddy water, a giant climbing structure with 2 options-- climb a vertical chain length fence about 8 feet up or take the longer, easier way (I never found out what the long way was) then a climb down into the thickest, nastiest mud I've seen (knee deep for this 5'3" woman), and finally a long wade through muddy water about a foot high-- again the mud made getting in and out tough. The obstacles were good-- they had a variety and were fairly evenly spread out.
Overall, it was fun, and there was MUD! They had fresh fruit (apples, oranges, and bananas), coconut water, water, fruit/cereal bars, and bagels at the end. They also had a small shower station (room enough for about 20 people at a time). Could there have been improvements? Yes. But I knew going in that this was a first time event.
Well, here is where they earn an F. I thought the timing was a little weird. Turns out it was more than weird; it was really messed up. I started at the front of my wave, and no woman passed me. However, they have 2 women coming in before me in my wave. Definitely, they should not have timed the event. I was greatly disappointed when I saw the results (thinking I did so poorly), but then I saw all the feedback on facebook. Lots of people are saying that the times they got were much faster than the time on their own watches/Garmins.
*Since first writing this blog, the Mud Dogs organization has been working hard to answer everyone's complaints. The timing company has also stepped up and is offering to correct timing errors. I would definitely give this company another chance... but for me the price would have to be lowered.
1. If you sign up for a fun run, then expect a fun run. Don't worry about time.
2. If you are expecting a well organized, smoothly run event, go with an event that has history-- Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Super Hero Scramble, etc.
3. If you want to avoid crowds at obstacles and are trying for your best time, enter the first heat of the day.