« Health & Fitness

2014 Kalamazoo Mud Run

by Michael Louden

Last Saturday I participated for the second time in the Kalamazoo Mud Run. This year's course was A LOT more difficult that last year, but it was well worth it as I thought last year's course set up was a little too easy. I threw on a shirt I don't usually wear along with a old pair of shoes, socks, and shorts.

I went out in the first heat for the Mud Run so I could take advantage of the course and because I am one of the more faster runners. Although this race was not about time, not even about where I placed overall or in my age group. This race was all about finishing this tough course and being able to say 'I did it!'

Their were 20 obstacles to go though, under, or over throughout the course. I will explain them all in this blog.

1.) Little Dipper

This comes right after the start of the race and is a waist deep pool of muddy water the runners jump through and then run for about 10 steps through it before heading off into the woods. It gets the runners all wet early on so they can get used to getting wet.

2.) Log and Bog

Their were small and large logs spread out on the trail. All of them were highlighted in orange spray paint and I had to jump over them like hurdles. It made me think I should have tried hurdles in high school. Their were also other logs spread randomly throughout the course.

3.) Biggby Mocha Mud

One big sucking mud pit is how to describe this. As I approached the mud pit a girl just in front of me had he shoe sucked off in the mud. It was thick and I slowed down to allow her time to pull her shoe out, but I got bowled over from behind and fell in the pit. That was OK though. I braced myself for the fall and heck the idea is to get dirty anyway.

4.) Vertical Plague

The toughest climb on the course. I took advantage of this section and passed some runners on this difficult uphill climb.

5.) Colt Climb

One of the new additions to the course and it was difficult. I had to climb over a wall and decide did I want to use a rope to help myself over or climb on tires. I decided to use the tires and it was easy getting to the top, but I was very cautious getting over the top because I did not want to fall and then proceeded to climb down and continue on the course.

6.) Snake Pit

The Snake pit was just a very small hole and was easily avoidable.

7.) Double Log Hurdle

Like I said, their were more logs in the course and these were some pretty big ones and I leaped over them again like hurdles and continued on course.

8.) Double Under

Their were two ways I could run the double under. The first was get down on my hands and knees and climb under the netting or hunch over and push my head against the netting and run my way under it and chose choice number two and quickly made my way under both netting's.

9.) Miracle Mud Stretch

What a tough stretch to cross. I had to run through very thick and sloppy mud. I picked up my feet as quick as possible and slid my feet when I landed to keep my balance.

10.) Extreme Power Climb

Another uphill climb with some mud involved. It was tough to make it through this section, but I managed and moved on.

11.) Pine Maze

If you have ever played a Laser Maze game the idea is not to touch all the lasers crossing paths and that is what this maze was like, except you could touch the ropes to get through. I tried my best to find the quickest way out, but I kept getting farther from the trail it seemed, but I finally made it though.

12.) High Hurdles

Two big fences to hop over. These were much easier to climb over than the Colt Climb. I quickly made it over both fences and continued.

13.) Alfred E Bog

The name says it all, it was a bog. A quick sharp downhill and then across a plain a mud and then back up a short, sharp uphill. I was lucky not to lose a shoe their.

14.) Tubes, 15.) Slides, 16.) Root Beer Barrels, 17.) Sweetwater Alley

This was one LONG stretch with many obstacles to cross. The first thing I did was slide down a tube into a pool of muddy water and I almost stumbled and fell as I ran through the water and up the hill to go down the slide. Then I ran though more water and jumped in between the barrels and then across the sandy plain and leaped between the tires. In all honesty I should have went directly over the barrels and either directly over the tires or crawl through them.

18.) Tire Pendulum

Now I was in the woods and on the flat section of the course and proceeded to the tire pendulum section and did my best to avoid the line of swinging tires and it was looking good until the end when I got nailed by one and got touched by another one.

19.) Cargo Climb and 20.) Pole Pit

I ran through the rest of the woods and now was almost done and just had two more obstacles left. The first I did was the cargo climb and I slowly made it up the huge netting and then went over the top and climbed back down. In the process I cut my thumb. Then I had to get on my hands and knees and crawl in the prone position through mud and water. A netting was above my head and was much closer to the ground than last year. I then headed toward the finish line.

I crossed the line with a time of 26:58 and took 9th overall and 2nd in my age group, but it was more about completing the course which I had done. It was also said before the race the course was also an obstacle which was true as their were many uphills, downhills, and sharp turns. Very challenging, but very rewarding.

Here is a link to see a video of me finishing the race: