If I’m left unsupervised and without clear instruction for any length of time I will find and sign up for a race. That’s exactly what happened this past Thursday. I was left unattended with no clear plan and so I was scrolling the social medias, and shampooing the very light upholstery in my grown-up-lady car. A few years ago one of honey’s kids asked me if I wanted to do Mud Hero with him and boy did I ever! It didn’t happen that year and we kept talking about doing mud hero together after that but here it was three years later and it sill hadn’t happened. He would have been the perfect partner he’d tease me about my weak arms and I would tease him about not even being able to run as a young sprightly lad pretty much the whole time. Plus he could help me over those obstacles. I guess you could say he would have been the perfect team mate! But this year’s ad claimed it was the last year for Halifax and I was handing over my money before I knew it! In the end I did it by myself and even drove myself to and from the race. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done that! Also since I paint my nails to match each race this time we’ll be introducing a new section to race recaps, nail polish rational!
A bit about the race: Mud hero is a combination running race with a ton of obstacles thrown in. They throw events around the country and I gather that each year some of the obstacles change and for a given year they are all the same in all the locations. The website is a really good resource for a heads up of what they will look like, so check it out1 Every year they partner with a charity and a portion of the proceeds get donated and for the last couple years it’s been the special Olympics. That seems like a pretty good fit if you ask me.
Parking and weather: Parking was more than ample however that might have been what they were collecting $10 for at the gate. The weather was pretty crazy in the afternoon that day 31 c (90 f), blazing sun and just a slight breeze. All of the volunteers were really good about reminding you to drink lots of water. With all the mud and my previous hot weather experience it wasn’t that bad feeling. I did try to remind myself not to go out too hard since I had a long drive after.
Course: This one is definitely a no electronics race so I’m afraid you’ll just have to live with my description and allegedly poor estimations. There are no obstacles of note (you crawl under a tarp) for about the first 1.3 km of trail. The first bit is very, hilly and open but you come to a flatter trail through the trees pretty fast. Most of the course is on what is probably ATV trails at the edges of the old runway. Many of the obstacles were deep satisfying, thick mud pits in the woods which is pretty much what we all signed up for. Most people walk, no correction stroll, between the obstacles but where possible I did run slowly. Because 1 I am a runner and 2 because I didn’t want to be out there so long I had to drive home in a thunder storm. It’s best to let go of time goals and just go with the flow for a few reasons. Lots of the course is very, very slippery, sometimes you have to wait your turn at an obstacle, the ground is very uneven in spots and you don’t want to twist an ankle.
Cheer squad: None which almost never happens for me. But… the vibe is pretty chill and other participants were eager to help.
Logistics and support: Take what’s written here with a grain of salt. Since this was my first race of this nature I’m not exactly sure what the expectation is for this sort of race. I did it towards the end of the day and supposedly this is the last year for Halifax so those things might have been factors, mind you they shouldn’t be. I’d have to give this a bit of a “meh it was alright…” There were two water stops on the course and one at the start and finish line but expect to pour your own water. There weren’t a whole lot of people besides competitors on the course. There were some at the water stops and most of the obstacles had people standing next to them. Not all though, like some of the walls and the mud pits didn’t. Anywhere you were climbing well over your head there were people as well as most places there was a drownable amount of standing water. The way the course was set up sometimes you wouldn’t see anyone for a km or so and lots of that time was deep woods thick mud sections. I don’t think that this was totally insufficient if did cross my mind that should something happen it might take a long time for help to reach you plus obviously none of us had phones. If say you twisted your ankle in the mud another participant could be half an hour from the next volunteer and then I couldn’t see them getting you you any faster than that. The most ‘dangerous obstacles’ did have one or two people manning them and were situated very close to the airfield start/finish line so that was great. The one that I did have a hard time with was perfectly staffed with two strapping young lads on the top that very graciously helped me over the edge. It was a skate board ramp that you run up grab a rope and then fling yourself over the ledge. The flinging part, that was hard!
I was under the impression that the 6k race was chip timed with an ankle strap however they are not. I was sure I’d read that but looking at upcoming events it turns out that for those events it is clear that only the 10k is timed. Other than that is was great though. The course was so complicated and perfectly set up, the Dj got everyone pumped up and the booths were awsome. I didn’t partake in the after party so I don’t know about that. Really everything you needed was there including a very cold shower station.
Race goals: I really wanted to do this and have fun. I did really want to do all the obsitcals or at least try them and I did. As for time I did want to run in bewtween as much as possible but at a very slow pace. I wanted to go slow yet run since I had to drive myself hours home. I wanted not to be exhausted but thundershowers were forecasted on the way home and I didn’t want to drive in a downpour. Oh, and of course get good an muddy!
Nail Polish: I choose bright red because I thought it might have a chance of showing up in pictures which could be super fun.
Swag: We got the requisite hello fresh offer card, mud hero race clips, a temporary tattoo, a medal and a beach towel. Plus race photos for the event were free! There were lots of other booths set up with freebees like goodlife but I didn’t take anything from anywhere else as I did not want to be bothered walking back to the car.
Results: This wasn’t a timed race so…
Time: Roughly 1.5 hours
Shoes: Asics Gel Cumulus 18 (donated to Haiti releif at the race)
Looking back: I hope this isn’t the last year and maybe next year they will just be calling it Mud Run Nova Scotia instead of Halifax. It was a tad expensive at $87 all in but given the complexity of the course totally fair. I can think of at least three other people I’d like to do it with. However, I’m also glad I took the plunge and did it on my own. It was still super fun and I always like chatting with strangers while waiting and along the way.