The Great American Mud Run

The Great American Mud Run

Randy Jackson

After deciding I needed some excitement in my life, I signed up for the Great American Mud Run on a sudden impulse. I didn’t know much about the race besides the distance (3.1 miles) and that the course was a little muddy (I would later find this to be a gross understatement). During the months prior, my ‘training’ consisted of the occasional light jog in the park, coupled with a few halfhearted sit ups. And so, with only days left before the race, I did what anybody else in my situation would do: I signed up an equally unprepared friend.

mud runners

Sean Hickey

On November 3 with bandanas on our heads and fear in our hearts, my friend Sean and I managed, however feebly, to ‘pump each other up’ during the car ride. Once we arrived and checked in, we spent a considerable amount of time eying our competition. Even the men who came dressed in pink tutus were intimidating! This was not a race for the weak.

The race began with a moderately paced jog on a relatively pleasant trail. At this point, I began to grow more at ease—I could do this. I was confident; ready. But then, from up ahead, I heard something that sent a chill up and down my spine: battle cries.

The Mud Pool

Randy Jackson

At this point in the race we were still clean and innocent, fresh and pink-cheeked; ‘fresh meat,’ as they say. For the Barbed Wire Army Crawl, we had to sink ourselves—unceremoniously— into a trench filled with mud and cold water, and then crawl underneath barbed wire to emerge victorious on the other side.

As we reached the monkey bars with our hands slicked with fresh mud, none of us had a fighting chance. Unlike the old playground favorite, these monkey bars were not our friend. Suspended over a pit of cold, brown water, all I could hear were the splashes of runners all around me falling to their doom. I didn’t make it past the second bar.

I finally made it to the Cargo Net. Climbing up and over a 15 foot cargo net? Challenging. Climbing over a 15 foot cargo net covered in mud and so cold that you’ve lost all the feeling in your fingers? Awesome!

After trying unsuccessfully to pull myself over the eight foot walls of the Continental Divide, I threw up my hands and started to walk around them. However, no one told me beforehand that giving up was not a viable option. And so, with the help of Sean and a kind stranger, I was tossed like a rag doll up and over the wall. Success!

Getting dirty at the Great American Mud Run

Randy Jackson

Throughout the rest of the race we leapt over crackling campfires, traversed a creek by rope, scaled entire walls, balanced on barrels, climbed to the top of a giant slide and scrambled through countless slippery pits of mud and water. When fellow runners were down, we helped pick them back up. We let out battle cries, high-fived and chest bumped. We played in the mud and, by golly, we had fun doing it. At the soggy finish line, Sean and I slipped and slid through together, shouting and pumping our tired fists in the air. We were met with cheers from all around and, even after being told that I had mud in my teeth, I could not stop smiling.

As we raised our celebratory beers high in the air, Sean and I agreed that we had just discovered an awesome new tradition. I  recommend anyone and everyone to try it. After all, according to the GAMR website, what should you do if you’re afraid of mud?

 (Answer: Immediately register for a Great American Mud Run event!)