Mud Run Q&A
Edited by Richard Osborne
Mud runs are all the rage these days, and none are more
popular in the Upstate than the Goodwill Mud Run, which sees thousands of
participants slosh, crawl and climb through its course twice a year. Goodwill
will host its spring event this month, and weíve put together a fun and
informative Q&A with the help of some veterans who have seen the event from
all angles over the last 5 years.
JJ Swartz Former event director and multiple-year
Paul Callahan 2012 event director
George Booth Multiple-year participant in various divisions
Aynsley Burrell Competed in her first mud run in 2011
Chris Bradberry Member of two winning teams
1) Whatís the draw to this event?
Swartz: Mud, obstacles, Marines, teamwork with friends and
family and a bit of tailgating too. You
just donít get elements like these at your local 5K and 10K running events.
Booth: It gives adults a good excuse to play in the mud.
Also, experiencing the race as a group rather than as an individual gives you a
sense of camaraderie.
Callahan: The race
appeals to a varied audience. Some sign up as elite athletes wanting to
compete, but most are average individuals expecting to have fun doing something
crazy with three other friends.
2) What do you think is the most difficult obstacle?
Swartz: I believe the new 50-yard Mud Bog obstacle at the
Burrell: The hanging tire. There is an art to getting through
the tire, and running and jumping head first is not the way to do it.
Booth: Definitely the cargo net. Thereís something mentally challenging about
balancing and stepping over a slippery, muddy 4x4 thatís suspended fifteen feet in the air.
Bradberry: Most people struggle with the cargo net climb
because of a fear of heights.
Callahan: #33 by far.
Itís at the end of the race, when youíre worn down, and each person has to make
their way through a mud pit that is 5í deep and 50í long. Some people doggy paddle.
3) Most fun obstacle?
Swartz: Has to be the final Mud Pit.
Burrell: No question, itís the long mud pit with the 8í
Booth: The rope swing is awesome. I always try to be first.
Callahan: The first one! You take off and right away you
have to get ALL the way down in the mud so you donít hit your head on the
obstacle! And thereís a big crowd
cheering you on, so you canít help yourself from getting pumped up.
4) Wildest thing youíve seen?
Swartz: The mountain of dirt at the end of the final mud pit
turned into a water slide at the Fall 2011 event. Teams were struggling to
crawl up, but were having fun sliding down!
Booth: The costumes.
Watching a man running through a mud pit wearing a pink tu-tu is
Callahan: The Firemanís Carry is always fun to watch.
Volunteers have seen females trying to carry their much bigger male teammates,
and one guy carried two females across the finish line Ė one over each
5) Most impressive?
Swartz: Last year a female competitor completed the course
with her team while wearing a carbon fiber prosthetic.
Booth: There was a man at the 10í wall who was exhausted and
couldnít make it over the wall, so three teams all collaborated to hoist him up
Bradberry: Andy Walls returning to our team just two years
after a near death ultralite crash. Heís been on the past two winning teams and
helped us set the course record.
Swartz: Had to be the Go Dirt teamís mullet wigs in 2008.
The wigs stayed on through the finish, and they won the event too!
Booth: Rounding the corner and seeing two of my teammates,
Tim Briles and Chris Giordinelli, stuck in the hanging tire obstacles.
Burrell: Watching everyoneís initial dive into the very
first mud hole is hilarious. Some are just not sure what they have gotten
7) Best tips for the race or any particular obstacle?
Swartz: Fast doesnít always win this event. A team has to have a combination of strength,
height (for the taller obstacles), speed and the ability to work together on
the fly. And participants need be
prepared to be bruised and scraped up during the course of the event.
Booth: If your team is shooting for a fast time, then review
the rules for the course. Also, try not
to get mud in your eyes.
8) Any preparation tips for training? Dress?
Swartz: Work your runs up to 5-6 miles and it will help you
on race day. Weight, kettle bell or cross fit training will be beneficial too.
Running shorts will do just fine. Cotton shirts will become heavy, so go with a
tech shirt if at all possible. It doesnít really matter if you wrap your shoes
in duct tape.
Burrell: Wear something that covers your knees and elbows.
Much of your time is spent on the ground pulling yourself across stumps, rocks
and (duh) mud!
Booth: Train as if youíre running a 5K, but add plyometrics
and upper-body strength activities to your workouts.
Callahan: Wear clothing items that you donít mind throwing
away. We recommend wearing pants that fasten tightly.
9) What differentiates this event from other mud or obstacle
runs youíve seen/done?
Swartz: Some Mud Runs try to make things as hard as possible
to see how many people quit, and others may just throw up 5-7 obstacles over
the course of a 5K. Some are also events
for individuals. The Goodwill Mud Run brings together 4-person teams and gives
them an obstacle every tenth of a mile.
Burrell: The staff and volunteers are amazing! The Goodwill
course is a great beginner course. Also, the warm showers were SUCH a plus!
Bradberry: Goodwill does a great job of traffic control on
the course. Starting teams by ability, having a red and blue side and making it
a two-day event are great ideas!
Callahan: The number of and variation of obstacles on the
course. We have 35 obstacles, including
two creek runs, multiple vertical obstacles, low crawls, and some endurance
portions on the course between obstacles.
Weíve also modified the course multiple times to help reduce congestion.