A foggy haze hung over sleepy fields on Halloween morning as excited Obstacle Racers made their way to the quiet town of Clermont, Florida. Having risen before the sun without hesitation or delay, participants were eager to embark on a race which has grown to be one of the most respected, most anticipated, and most adored Florida OCR events.
Monster Challenges had finally arrived.Costumed runners began to fill the typically quiet Central Florida fields, and an excited buzz rose over the landscape as each individual prepared to race. Monster Challenges is incredibly unique, offering a permanent course with stationary obstacles built throughout the many acres of a gorgeous ranch. Not only does it offer a beautiful, swampy course which showcases the treacherous allure of the wilderness of Florida, but it also promises an incredible challenge, as the 25+ obstacles set throughout the nearly 5 miles of terrain are designed to test racers of all abilities.
Surprisingly enough, the day did not begin with splashing through mud and scurrying over obstacles, but instead it began with the exchange of marriage vows by a couple clad in tutus. You heard me right, we were witness to an OCR wedding! Paul and Krissie – members of Team MudRunFun and avid OCR enthusiasts – had chosen this day to unite their lives in marriage. Surrounded by those who understand and revel in the passion that had brought them close as a couple, they celebrated this monumental moment with their Obstacle Racing family, exchanging vows on the finish line of their favorite hometown race. The vows were sweet and sprinkled with giggles as the happy couple stood hand-in-hand in the mud. The groom – donning a mint-green tuxedo shirt and black tutu – looked adoringly at his new bride, and a shot of fireball followed by roudy cheers from the crowd signified the beginning of their new life together.However this unique and lighthearted wedding was not the only epic experience of this Monster Challenges race, as this particular event also presented a very special experience for my own family as well; it would mark the longest race that Mason had ever completed. While he has participated in the Monster Challenges Kids Race in the past, he desperately wanted to experience the full course with Adam and I, and with several Obstacle Races now under his belt, we felt that he had reached a point where he would be able to take on the distance and challenges as they presented themselves.
Mason ran the race with energy and enthusiasm. He completed the majority of the obstacles, encountering only a few which were a bit too technical to progress through even with assistance. To say that I am a proud Momma for what my son accomplished at this race does not seem to give my emotions proper justice. He was incredible! He conquered his fears as he climbed obstacles higher than he had ever climbed, he learned how to better deal with disappoinment when struggling to complete a difficult task, and he persevered through a race which many adults consider to be quite challenging. When I asked him later that day what his favorite part of the race was, his answer was simple: “Well… pretty much everything!”
The post-race atmosphere was electric, as racers celebrated their hard-earned accomplishment together as a unified OCR family. I’ve always described this particular event as being a family reunion of sorts, and the 175+ MudRunFun team members in attendance enjoyed a beautiful afternoon while spending quality time with good friends. We race together, we play together, and it is clear by the happy faces, laughter, dancing, and genuine smiles from mud-caked faces that the OCR community is as tight-knit as ever.
I must mention that much of the loyalty to Monster Challenges is due to a woman names Deby, a wonderful person who I’ve written about before and who, dubbed “Monster Momma”, has made this event so much more than just a race. Not only do we love Monster Challenges for being a great race, for being well branded, and for having incredible medals and even better trophies, but we also love Monster Challenges for the people who pour their heart and soul into making this race an incredible experience. Deby is just as passionate about the people who run her race as she is about the race itself. Her goal is to provide an experience that is challenging, memorable, and fun, and her passion is evident from start to finish. For that, we sincerely thank her.This past weekend was full of amazing memories, and I can confidently say that Monster Challenges is sure to go down as one of the all-time favorite OCR events not only for my family, but for many of the racers in attendance. Thanks for an unforgettable experience Monster Challenges! As expected, you delivered yet another incredible event.