{Mud Endeavor: Under The Lights}

There’s something very exciting about an obstacle race run at night. The darkness seems to morph the course into an entirely different animal, casting shadows across the mud and obstacles, thus creating a very unique and energy-charged experience for participants.

Recently hosting the second installment of their successful night race “Under The Lights”, Mud Endeavor didn’t disappoint, putting on yet another stellar event that was unique, interesting, and a whole lot of fun! Offering it’s typical gamut of creative and challenging obstacles, the night race added in a twist of added entertainment as runners donned glow sticks and arrived ready to tackle the race with a party attitude.

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We arrived at the Pasco County Fairgrounds while the sun still shone brightly, providing us the opportunity to take in our surroundings before it was shrouded in the dark blanket of night. A giant main stage was prepped and ready for the live band that would be entertaining the crowd all evening, and created an impressive focal point in the festival area. And as is typical of the Mud Endeavor races, the festival area had been situated in a perfect location, one in which spectators and anxious runners alike could witness much of the three and a half mile course, thus providing a fantastic spectacle as the night marched on.

The elite wave was sent out at 7pm, well before the sun ducked below the horizon. The constant onslaught of muddy hills, water filled trenches, challenging obstacles, and stifling humidity created an epic battle as an impressive group of competitive runners pushed forward.

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The tone of the race changed once the sun set, and a lighthearted party vibe overtook the course. Runners splashed through dark puddles and scrambled over obstacles, all while dancing along to the music that echoed throughout the course from the main stage.

Two incredibly unique features of this race were encountered when participants were led through the barns situated in the midst of the mayhem. The first barn was filled with colorful lights, a DJ pumping party tunes, and an enclosed low crawl filled with ice and fog. A sign stating “This Is Gonna Suck” appropriately hung on the frame of the obstacle. The fog, lights, music, and ice created a disorienting experience as runners had to push through the sensory ambush, simply following the screams of those ahead of them, blindly crawling forward as they sought out relief from the stinging cold.

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The second barn wound runners in a maze-like pattern through the vast structure, as participants were required to climb over several tall, slick gates, and maneuver through a spiderweb of ropes. This gauntlet was completed while music, fog, and flashing lights created a psychedelic atmosphere, making it impossible not to dance and groove from entrance to exit.

As is to be expected of a Mud Endeavor event, the course was challenging yet incredibly fun, the obstacles were solid, volunteers were awesome and encouraging, and everything from parking and registration, to the festival area and after-party were well organized and well run. The race itself was also perfectly balanced for athletes of all abilities, as elite runners were provided a challenging and incredibly competitive event, while those participating just for fun were also able to thoroughly enjoy a race run at their own desired pace.

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My one and only concern about this event is the fact that chip timing was not utilized for the competitive wave. The initial elite wave was very large, causing a greater opportunity for error as results were relied upon by the proper documentation of volunteers. Unfortunately, a situation like this can lead to finishers being unintentionally missed, numbers being incorrectly recorded, & a larger margin of error exists with regards to accurate finish times. Although I understand chip timing can be costly, when a race has the desire to offer a quality competitive wave, I believe chip timing is a must.

Despite the lack of chip timing, this race was truly fantastic! I love that Mud Endeavor has been experimenting with different styles of obstacle racing events, and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for this great race series! Thanks again to Randy, his lovely wife Theresa, & his stellar team who put together yet another incredibly enjoyable race!

Check out Mud Endeavor’s upcoming race schedule by clicking here. This race series is a must-do! See you at the next one!

~Holly

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