This morning I participated in the Amphibious Warrior Mud Run in Auburn, AL with friends Duane, Heather and Mike. It was being held by the Auburn University NROTC activity, and part of the proceeds benefited the Wounded Warrior Project. We ran the inaugural event's 5k together as a team and had a blast despite a few minor issues. The photo to the left was taken before the race, when were all relatively clean.
The race was supposed to begin at 10:00, but it quickly became apparent that wasn't going to happen when we noticed how long the registration line was at 9:30. Sure enough an announcement came saying it would be pushed back a little. It was starting to get sunny and hot, but it never did get unbearable. In the end they did a little better than I expected, and we began at around 10:20. At least we did. They started the race in waves, and we were fortunate enough to be in the first one. We later learned that the staggered start had some starting as much as an hour later. That would have been very disappointing.
The first "obstacle" of the course was a ¾ mile trek through a creek that began just a couple hundred yards into the race. It was mostly shallow, but for the majority of it we had to walk just to keep from falling or twisting an ankle. In a couple of places it got really deep without warning, and at one point Mike was in almost up to his head. I enjoyed this part, but felt it could have been shortened up a bit.
Once we left the water we crossed a field and came to a cattle fence we had to negotiate. After that we rounded a corner and were greeted by a few people that pelted us with water balloons! Some were kids, who were have a great time doing so. We then climbed over a 4-foot wooden wall and were greeted with the sight of mud pits! And these mud pits had wires running about 18" over them, so you had to - as Heather later said - "waller through the mud like pigs!" Initially I tried to make it through on my hands and knees, but finally succumbed and fell on my stomach when bystanders started egging me on.
There were a total of four mud pits all in a row, and none of us were spared scraped knees or knuckles by the time we completed them. Still, despite the awful smell it was part of the experience and a lot of fun. We run a short ways through the woods and when we exited had to perform the "hand grenade toss" with water balloons. We had to get ours in a square or else double back on the course a little as a penalty. I somehow managed to hit my target, but muddy, slippery hands kept Duane, Heather and Mike from getting theirs in.
Just up a little further up we came to the "Ammo Can" obstacle. One at a time we each had to carry a heavy ammo can (25 lbs?) down to a cone about 25 meters away and then back again. None of us had any problem with this task, even Mike who had turned his ankle earlier while exiting the creek.
The last obstacle was to once again crawl through the mud. This time it was under a narrow, makeshift bridge in the middle of a field. After that we sloshed our way towards the finish, briefly getting wet from running under the high-powered stream of a fire truck's hose.
According to my Garmin we finished the course in about 52:51. And the distance was considerably longer than 5K, coming in at 3.86 miles. That works out to a 13:41 pace, which sounds awful but - really - who cares?!?! We're not yet sure how our team placed in relation to other co-ed teams because the race officials were having a problem getting things tabulated. Fortunately, they made the decision to inform everyone of this problem and asked everyone to check the website later for the results. If we win something they'll send it in the mail.
So, all in all it really was a fun time and they did put on a good inaugural race. The schwag bag had a nice tech shirt, bottle and lanyard, the course was well put together and race officials made up for their shortcomings by communicating well with the participants.
Finally, for your viewing pleasure, a post-race photo is to the right (click to embiggen). Mud found its way into every nook and cranny! Shoes, hair, shirts and shorts! Ooh Rah!