Mud runs are all the rage these days. And while they come in many names (Dirty Girl, Muddy Buddy, Tough Mudder), they typically fall into one of these two categories:
1. Fun let’s-play-in-the-mud-and-laugh runs
2. Hellish “challenge” obstacle courses that you can brag to all your friends that you have “survived”
While I’m a girl who loves a good challenge, I draw the line at being shocked by electricity — often a feature in the races of that fall into the No. 2 category (or so I’ve heard).
So I’ve been in the market to try a fun mud run and was thrilled to hear there is one coming close to home in nearby Chautaqua, N.Y. AND it’s a race for the whole family with a kid’s division that even my I-hate-running daughters will love (What kid wouldn’t love jumping into pits of mud? Hello?).
Here are the down-and-dirty details from the race web site:
* 4 mile off-road race on the 150 acres of Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center with 14 obstacles along the way.
* 300-600 runners are expected in 2012, our inaugural year.
* The race is part of the Eclipse Multisport series.
* Racers go off in waves of 75 people every ten minutes; first wave at 9:30 am. (First wave will finish around 10 am, last wave as late as 1 pm)
* Each runner receives a t-shirt, beer coupons, water, food and race packet coupons.
* The race will be chip timed.
* Muddy Viking is for ages 14 and up. Muddy Lil’ Viking for ages 5 to 13.
* Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center’s staff will host kid’s games, campfires, face painting and GaGa Pit games after the races are complete.
* After the races, you’ll be treated to food and beer provided by the Chautauqua region’s own Bulldog BBQ and Southern Tier Brewery!
I did a little Q & A with the Muddy Viking‘s Steve Biegner. Steve is the Executive Director of the Lutheran Charities of Western New York, the organization the race benefits. And now I have to do the race because is sounds like a blast (
four five words: 100 foot slip ‘n slides!).
Are you the race director? Nope. We hired Dan Horan and Eclipse Multisport to take the lead for this first year. They start the Finn McCool 4 Mile Odyssey Run last year in South Buffalo and had over 900 runners in their first year.
How did you get involved? I’m the Executive Director of Lutheran Charities of Western New York. The camp is one of our agencies and I was a staff person there for years. We’re looking for new ways to serve the community in new and fun ways with the assets we have, like Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center. The mission of this race is to raise funds for local charities through a blend of adventure, healthy living, play and chaotic fun! I came up with the idea after running the Finn McColl race last year.
Who does the race benefit? Lutheran Charities of Western New York and its 12 agencies.
Why this fundraiser? What made you want to do this kind of race? It’s fun. I go a lot of running and biking so I see a lot of 5k style events and they are tough to get one to stand out. This will be the greatest new race in the Chautauqua region in years! The terrain of the camp, 160 acres, will allow us to have the most fun and challenging natural course around. There will be a mix of natural ravines and log bridges, man-made obstacles and challenges, a couple 100 foot slip ‘n slides, running through the Lake a couple times and of course, the finishing in Thor’s Mud Pit.
What kinds of athletes are you hoping to attract? This will be the perfect race to test the endurance of a 5k runner, push the weekend warrior and let the average Joe feel every muscle in their body the next day. However, there’s no pressure to do every obstacle. We’ll have space around most of them that you could just come run a nice hilly 4-mile trail run.
Is this a tough race…a physical challenge…or more of a race for fun? It will be a mix of both. Due to the hills and the terrain, as a very in shape person, I struggled at the 1.7 mile mark ascending the waterfront hill. But everyone can finish or do as much as they want to.
Is it a race? Will it be timed? It will be timed for those that want to push and it will be a fun run for those who care less. We’ve partnered with the Finn McCool Race (www.finnmccool4mile.com) for the same distance and amount of obstacles to allow people to do both races if they want to compare their times from one to the other.
How many can be on one team? As many as you’d like.
If there are too many for one team (say someone has a group of 20 people go), can they run together…or just after one another? We’ll put large groups all in the same flight together. If Erie Runners Club wants to bring a group, we’ll put them in the same flight so they can enjoy running together, laughing, helping one another over the obstacles or stepping on one another to win.
There’s a kids division, too, right? Yes, the G.A. Foster Care Muddy ‘Lil Viking will take place later in the morning. It’ll be a great opportunity for the kids to enjoy a mile run and a few of the obstacles, including Thor’s Mud Pit.
Is there babysitting while parents run? If not, is the venue organized in such a way that older kids could hang out and watch parents, etc. while they run? No official babysitting due to all sort of insurance issues with that. However, anyone with kids in the ‘Lil Viking can run in an early flight and have time to get back and allow their kids to run. There will be all sorts of camp staff onsite all morning doing crafts, games and events with the kids through the event. They have their own climbing wall and Ga-Ga pit for after the race.
$50 is a lot for a 4-mile race…tell me why it’s worth it: We set the event price lower than average based on the market rate for these events. Insurance, obstacles and logistics force us to increase the cost over the traditional 5k type event. But with t-shirts, goodie bag, medals, an incredible course, Bulldog BBQ’s food and Southern Tier’s beer, I don’t believe anyone is going to walk thinking they didn’t get a great event for the price. Plus, every single dime after fixed costs goes to support these local charities.
Is there a place people can clean up afterwards? If we, for instance, we drive there from Erie, is there a place we can hose off/change clothes? Along with the best beer and food in the Southern Tier, we’ll have plenty of firehoses, portable showers and the entirety of Lake Chautauqua to clean up in. Men’s and Women’s Tents will be available to change in as well.
Who wants to get muddy with me? I’m SO in!