Yesterday I had the pleasure of running my first all-female mud run with a group of first-time obstacle racers!
Having now run several different obstacle races and mud runs, I truly enjoy getting to be with someone during their first OCR experience. I vividly remember my first time, and how intoxicating the atmosphere is; how my nerves tingled with a mixture of adrenaline, dread, and excitement, and how, when finished, I felt like I could conquer the world (to be honest, I still do, completing an obstacle race gives you a very heady feeling in general. It’s pretty awesome). Getting to re-live that exhilarating feeling, and to see a person fall in love with OCR for the first time is amazing, and it’s part of what made my day yesterday truly fantastic!
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with the race director of Pretty Muddy, Kevin, and several local bloggers for dinner. We talked about the race, how it was marketed, the demographic it targeted, threw around some ideas, and left in hopes of making a difference for this new race. I quickly went about searching for a team to run this fun race with.
I knew that this particular race would appeal to many more women than a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race might, due to the fact that it was shorter (only 3.1 miles), not timed, and not geared toward being as “hardcore” as many other OCR are. My hope was to use this race to entice the women I knew who were too nervous to try one of the bigger races, that they would make this their first OCR, love it, and want to do more.
So I put my team together, four fantastic ladies who had never done a mud run, and made them get up early on a Saturday, put on a tutu, and go play in the mud with me!
Pretty Muddy impressed me! It was the 3rd time I’d run a race at the Little Everglades Ranch in Dade City (which is a gorgeous property by the way!), and I was immediately happy to encounter well informed volunteers, great directional signs, and a well set-up area for sign-in, bag check, food, and after-party. Check-in was easy, with little wait time, volunteers were friendly, and the MC did a great job of pumping each wave up for their run!
I met with my team, we took some photos, stretched, got lined up, and were off! First obstacle, a huge foam tunnel! Who doesn’t love running through a tunnel full of bubbles?!? It was a great, fun way to start the race, and we were excited for what was to come.
The course itself was very well marked, with no room for error. Mud was pre-made and contained (although it still had the yuck factor of normal mud), and all obstacles were made easy enough for all participants to complete without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated. As I described it to my husband, it was a bit “fluffy” for an experienced obstacle racer (but not boring mind you! I still had a riot despite it being very easy), but it is just enough of a challenge without scaring away a woman who is still unsure about her capabilities in the OCR world. It is a perfect beginners race!
We really did have a great time! We laughed, encouraged and helped each other, and thoroughly enjoyed getting our tutus incredibly muddy!
There was the perfect amount of water stations (3 total), well constructed obstacles, and perfectly placed course markings and signs with obstacle names/funny phrases. The race itself was well done, and I heard no complaints from any racers throughout the entire course!
The after party was fun! We were provided with a mixture of live music and DJing, there was plenty of food and drinks, and they even offered red and white wine in addition to beer; proving they truly did have the female in mind when planning this race! Changing stations were also female-friendly. Instead of the usually empty tent where everyone changes together, they had individual compartments sectioned off in the tents for privacy in changing. Nice call Pretty Muddy!
So did I have fun? Yes! Was it easy? Yes, but not for everyone, as I was happy to see women of all physicality’s compete. Of the women I ran with, I think most of them will try another OCR.
My one recommendation: give us a medal!!! This especially for women running their first race! We want something to show for this great accomplishment. I think a medal or some sort of finishing prize would be great, and something many women would be proud to display.
My favorite story of the weekend is this. I spoke with my neighbor today, who raced in a team of 11 ladies new to OCR (ages 16-60 I might add). Because of Pretty Muddy, they are already planning to do another mud run in the spring since they loved their experience at Pretty Muddy so much. Not only that, but her 16 year old daughter has put Tough Mudder on her bucket list of things she wants to do in life, and she may come spectate TM when I run in December to get a feel for what it’s like!
For this, I commend Pretty Muddy! Its dedication to getting women to try a mud run by not being overly hardcore, competitive, or “scary” is convincing women who would never normally try an OCR to do it, fall in love with it, and begin their journey toward a healthier, more active lifestyle!
Well done Pretty Muddy! I’d be happy to run your race again!
Next up… Tough Mudder! Training kicks into high gear effective tomorrow! Until next time everyone! Keep training hard!