Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mud Dogs Race Recap 3/24/13


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a [darn] fool about it."
-W. C. Fields
Pre-race pic
This is the second event organized by the Mud Dogs company that I have done. My recap of the first race is here. There were many complaints about their first event; however, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, believing their commitment to do better next time.

My first hint that there might be trouble came as we stood, only 40 minutes before the race, watching them fix what looked to be the "option B" of the final obstacle. It's a little disconcerting to see men hammering an unstable-looking obstacle just minutes before the race. I'm just going to break this down according to what I saw and experienced:

Positives:
final obstacle
  • the venue, Vista View Park in Davie, FL, was phenomenal. The only hill in South Florida provided the perfect challenge for an obstacle course race / mud run.
  • the final obstacle-- I've never before encountered one of these in a race:
  • dog tag style finisher "medal." Again, something different.
Negatives:

  • Obstacles were poorly constructed. I was among the first 15 runners to go through the course, and already at one obstacle (a balance beam walk) we were told not to use one of the beams as it was "broken and not safe."
  • Mud, or lack thereof. For a "mud" run, it was just not at all muddy. Finisher pictures reveal, sweaty and wet from the knees down runners, with minimal mud splatter. You really had to belly crawl through the last slightly dirty water trench. And there was no reason to belly crawl, unless of course, you wanted a dirty finisher picture.
  • Course markings, or lack thereof. At one point a sign pointed us to the right, when there was an obstacle just 10 feet beyond the signs. At another point an arrow pointed us to the left (toward a wide open field) when we could see obstacles down the hill and to the right. It wasn't until the 9:30 wave that runners began to run the actual 5k course. I estimate the earlier waves only ran 2.5 or so miles.
  • Volunteers were untrained. I am not blaming the volunteers-- they clearly had no idea what they were supposed to be doing. They couldn't tell us which way to go; they simply didn't know the course route, either.
  • Prize money hinted at, but apparently not really offered. The Mud Dog's facebook page exclaimed: "Announcing the first Cash Prize Run at the Mud Dogs Mud Run...Register in person today (3/24) at Vista View Park Mud Run or Register on-line..." In an email from the company owner, he told me that no prize money was offered or paid out. Huh?
  • (If there really was no prize money, then this one becomes a moot point) Competitive racers were skipping obstacles. Other than having course marshals out there, this is really an issue of cheating. It is just annoying that I'm giving it my all while the chick in front of me is running around or through multiple obstacles. Shame on you, next time enter an un-timed heat.
This is the first time I've requested a refund from an event, and only now because the problems they had at this event were the same problems they had at their first event. The course was dangerous at points and overall this company gives local, smaller OCRs a bad reputation. While the owner sent a quick response to deny that a cash prize was given, I'm still waiting for the promised email where he will address my other concerns and refund request. (original post 3/28/13)

*Since my original post, I have heard back from the CEO of the company (although it did take approximately 2 facebook posts and 4 emails). He actually called me and apologized personally, assuring me that his heart was broken when he saw the race going off course, the broken obstacles, etc. He stated that he wants people to come out and have a great time with family and friends, running the course as many times as they want. It's the company's policy, he said, to not offer a refund, but he did offer a free race to me and some friends-- he practically begged me to wait until the next race (Jacksonville) so that I can see that he's already in the process of making improvements. Feeling a bit naive, but he sounded genuine. If he's not, he's sure going to a lot of trouble to lie. The problem-- their next local race is the same date of the Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon, the only other race I'm registered for this year. (updated 3/30/13)

1 comment:

  1. Mud dog race is very interesting experience at Miami Event. It's a 5k course with 15+ over the top obstacles including the Vegetarian. Register yourself and become a part of Gay Community at Mud Race Miami.

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