Saturday, March 31, 2012

ABF 10k Mudrun Race Report

Camp Ockanickon in Medford, NJ played host to Above and Beyond Fitness's 10k Mudrun this morning, and I was lucky enough to take part.  Mudruns have become extremely popular over the last few years, as they offer an alternative to what some perceive as the mundanity of regular footraces.  Unfortunately, popular mudruns such as the Warrior Dash and the Tough Mudder often sell out months in advance.  As ABF is just a small outfit, I was able to sign up at the last minute on Thursday night.

It was an overcast day with temps in the upper 40's.  The course was 10 kilometers, or 6.2 miles, and featured obstacles such as these:

I have no idea how this race would compare to the more popular mudruns out there, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Nice and clean at the start

I started out in the 11:30 heat, but within a minute I had pulled ahead of everyone and spent the next fifteen minutes completely alone, zigzagging through the woods.  After leaving the woods, obstacles began appearing with more regularity and included dragging sandbags up and down Blueberry Hill 4 times, crawling under barbed wire, running through a field of tires, climbing and jumping over several walls, crossing the monkey bars, and this:

Swimming in March in the middle of a race

Needless to say, it was absurdly cold, and I couldn't feel certain body parts when I came out on the other side.  Thankfully Stevie was there to take pictures, which gives you, the reader, one of the better faces I've made during competition:

After over an hour of getting beat up on the trail, one more water obstacle:

And on to the grand finale:

It took me two tries to grab that bar.  Despite my size, I still have decent vertical leap, but the wood was slippery and my hands were wet and cold, so on the first try I couldn't grasp the bar.  It took me a minute to warm them up and dry them off, and I nailed it on the second try.

My time was 1:15:03, but technically it wasn't a race anyway.  Even with several heats throughout the day, it is still impossible to time everyone fairly when bottlenecking occurs at the various obstacles.  I was fortunate in that when I encountered a crowded obstacle, usually a team working to overcome it together, they didn't mind letting me pass since I was alone.  I overheard the following exchange at one obstacle as I crossed it with ease:

Woman 1: Is this guy with a team?
Woman 2: Look at him!  Does he need a team!?

Overall it was a great event that I would love to do again, despite certain drawbacks.  For one, it cost $105 to register.  Tack on's registration fee and mandatory insurance, and all together I shelled out $124.01 to run around in the woods and get soaked today.

All of these events are always touted as being designed to push your mental and physical abilities to the limit, and this one is no exception. Designed by a former Marine, the event "features difficult (and sometimes hostile) environments, and physical and mental challenges that will push even the most active fitness seeker." While I must stress that I enjoyed the event, I have to laugh when I read that description.  Where were the hostile environments?  Where was the mental challenge?

Sorry ABF, but your event is still pretty tame compared to the beast that is the marathon.

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