I love playing in the mud and I love putting boys in their place.
So when my friend Will offered me a last minute spot in the inaugural event of his brainchild Tough Mudder race, I was thrilled!
Thrilled, and wholly unsure about what to expect. These days, running on the gravel Bridle Path in Central Park constitutes roughing it for me. But it was clear from the start this this “race” would be less about the competition and more about the camaraderie.
And about the fun. When was the last time you ran a race that had signature drinks associated with it? Awesome.
So what was this race and how did I end up involved? One of the founders and organizers, our friend Will, was a classmate of the hubs’ in business school. I remember being at a BBQ at his apartment in Cambridge last spring and chatting about this idea for a race. The fact that he has managed to bring it from mere idea to a sold-out event with such a high level of energy and enthusiasm among the participants is simply brilliant. He was even featured in the New York Times last week. Cheers, Will!
Anyway. The hubs and I, along with two friends, arrived at the Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Allentown, PA Saturday night and made our way to the VIP/press party (hello, free drinks!) There are benefits to knowing the guy at the top. We enjoyed a few drinks and chatted with some random people before moving on to the rest of the evening (which was sort of epic and deserves its own post. It’s a good thing I didn’t race until noon on Sunday!)
On to the race itself. We started with a bang – literally. Orange smoke and fireworks accompanied each and every wave start, as we Mudders were let out in groups of 500 every 15 minutes.
The start! Woohoo, we’re running downhill! Which is super fun because we’re about to run uphill for a long long time.
(I’m the runty looking one in purple in the middle. Although the race stats claimed 20% female participation, it seemed like it was even lower. I had fun kicking the boys’ butts though!)
After that was approximately 7 miles of hills, mud and obstacles/challenges through the ski trails. We crawled through snow, shimmied through mud under wires strung inches from the ground, swam under barrels, dove into an allegedly-snake-infested lake, scaled wooden walls, and ran through fire. Oh, and there was that black-diamond ski run that was far to steep to even think of running up – definitely the hardest point of the race, physically.
That hill certainly wiped the stupid smile off my face.
All along the way, people were laughing and screaming and encouraging one another. Half of them were in crazy costumes. To say that it was SO MUCH FUN is a serious understatement. I actually was sad when I realized the end was near.
Total time? About 1:23. Although it’s kind of a meaningless stat. This race was all about the fun and the finish.
Of course, there are some kinks that need to be worked out – some of the obstacles toward the end had major issues with crowding and lines. But, it’s rare for an inaugural event to run 100% smoothly. Especially one of this complexity and novelty.
Overall? A total blast. And huge thanks to Joanna for all of the photos!
I’ve already told the hubs he needs to put together a team for a future Tough Mudder race. I can’t wait to get dirty again.