Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mudathlon Ohio 2013

Neiderman Farm, Monroe, Ohio - August 10, 2013

Last year I ran the Mudathlon in Ohio and it was only the 3rd event I had ever been in.  My wave time last year was late morning and the course was torn up with backlogs of people at every obstacle.  It was not a good experience.  I've learned a lot since then.  Mudathlon currently has events in Kentucky, Ohio and (2) in Indiana, the only one I've done is Ohio but I've heard they are all very similar.  The downside of the Mudathlon is the price, it's one of the more expensive events out there but it is very well organized.  The Mudathlon event in Ohio always has a very organized check in process and the festival area is very nice and well thought out.  Another negative is they have no changing tent and the wash off is typically the same muddy creek you just ran through.  For the price you pay, I would expect more.

This year Mudathlon added a 7:45 competitive wave, so I registered.  I was the first person in the festival area that morning and it felt a little weird but I wasn’t alone for long as the rest of the competitive crazies started arriving soon after.  For the most part, the course remained the same as last year but I was glad they replaced a few of the more lame ‘obstacles’, things like square hay bales in your path and a potato sack hop, with more appropriate obstacles although they still had us running through the stinky livestock barn and scale a wall of hay bales in there.  One of the things Mudathlon does right is they fill a course with obstacles, ‘3 Miles and 40 Obstacles’ is what they advertise and they deliver every bit of it.  The course in Ohio is basically flat but they utilize the terrain as best as they can by taking you through the knee deep creek several times, throwing in obstacles wherever they can.  I really like the monkey bars they have at the Mudathlon.  They have two lengths, short and long.  For the competitive wave they made everyone take the long route, which I was happy to see.  They reused the same 4’ walls they had constructed last year for the course that were just never removed from the ground.  One of these walls had rotted through the 4x4 posts and it simply fell over during the event.  Fortunately nobody was on it at the time.  The halfway point and the finish of this event are marked with the one of the longest mud pits I have ever seen.  It’s a good 50 yards long and the gooeyness of the mud gets worse as the day goes on.  I love this pit.  The back half of the course is primarily on several paintball courses.  The obstacles are the typical crawl through a tire or through a spider web of roping but they have some very large wooden cable reels that get very difficult to climb up and over as the day goes on.  There are a couple of small hillsides into dried creek beds that are very steep and require ropes to get up and down.  One of the more challenging obstacles is a ‘tight wire’ rope between 2 trees that spans about 30’.  You must traverse the rope from one end to the other, to assist you there is a rope above your head.  Although I don’t consider water slides a true obstacle but more of a ‘fun’ aspect to a course to keep people interested, Mudathlon always has a good slide.  They’ve spent the necessary money to lay down thick plastic so you don’t feel every rock under the slide -

For the competitive run, I came in 32/2373, not bad but that just tells me that when the zombie apocalypse happens, and it will, I will NOT be the last man on earth.  Must try harder!!

The best part of this day was getting to spend the day with a bunch of Crazy Mudder Muckers.  Nothing better than rolling around in the mud with your extended family.  Special thanks to Nicki Green for bringing an extra rucksack.  In preparation for my upcoming Spartan Super, which will be about 9 miles in the mountains of Virginia, I decided to take an extra couple of laps with a backpack carrying bricks.  This was the first time I had ever done anything like this and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did.  It really boosted my confidence in being able to survive the Spartan Super with dignity.  The downside is the bricks were rubbing my lower back the whole time and gave me an OCR tramp stamp, see pic below.  After the 2nd lap, fellow Crazy Mudder Mucker Phillip Clark texted me that he was running late and asked if I could wait for them to go around, so I did.  Unfortunately, they got there and checked in about 15 minutes after the last wave was released.  We went to the start line thinking there was still time and the 'gatekeeper' was not going to let us go, so we jumped in at the halfway point and ran the rest of the course from there.  They didn't miss too much and everyone still had a muddy good time.

All-in-all this is a good average event, not too hard for the average person that’s only out to get a good Facebook cover picture and just competitive enough for the elite runners in the morning.  The one big downside to this event is the cost.  I don’t feel it’s competitively priced compared to other, better events but their marketing is working because they had almost 2400 runners.

Pictures from the event can be seen here -

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