2014 has been dubbed “The Year Of The Mud Run.” It all started out with the Spartan Sprint, followed by the Warrior Dash, and now the Merrell Down & Dirty. You would think that’s enough but we still have the Gladiator Rock-N-Run, and 2 more Spartan races to finish things out with the “Trifecta”.
The Down & Dirty was held Sunday, August 24th 2014 at Kensington Metropark in Milford, Michigan. They do hold them all over the country but this one is in my neck of the woods. Registration prices run anywhere from $50 – $85 depending on how far in advance you register. You also have the choice of a 3 or 6 mile course. We (naturally) chose the 6 mile because …well why not?
Race Morning: came waaaay too early! Our wave was at 7:30 am so our day started at 5:30 for general getting ready and the hour drive we had ahead of us. I’m not a breakfast person so my pre-race food intake consisted of a belVita biscuit and a Starbucks Doubleshot. Upon arrival the park was very well organized with plenty of markers and police to direct traffic. We didn’t drive a Subaru so we had to go to the general parking lot only a short walk away. Packet pick-up was a breeze with no wait and staff on point with all of the stuff. Included in the swag was a Merrell buff and a Down & Dirty shirt which was good because I seem to have forgotten a change of clothes. There weren’t many obstacles for spectators to view so if you are going to watch… be prepared to wait a while before any action happens.
At The Start: we only had to run less than a half mile before hitting our first obstacle. It was a simple crawl through some water which was short and easy. It made things cold at first because it was an overcast and windy day but before long the wetness started to feel good. After the water there were a few walls to climb, a big cargo net structure named “the Monster Climb”. The next couple miles after that had some balance beams, some tires, and more variations on the walls and cargo nets.
One thing I have to note was the Aid stations: they filled garbage cans up with yellow well water and scooped it out into cups. People were mistaking the water cans for trash and threw their half drank water back into what was being served to other runners. VERY DISGUSTING and VERY UNSANITARY! I’m sorry but for $50 – $85 registration fees I expect clean water to drink that didn’t come from a garbage can. F A I L !
Ok rant over… so after the halfway point the obstacles started to get interesting. There was a sandbag carry which was very short for distance but the bag itself weighed a TON! I thought I could readjust at the halfway point but couldn’t get it back up so I had to do this awkward shuffle thing to avoid dropping it. The “Drop and give me 20” push up area was the one I dreaded most. Not that I can’t to 20 push ups, but doing 20 after all of that running and climbing maybe be difficult. There was also a sandbag hoist which took little to no effort, in comparison, the hoist at the Spartan race weighed more than I did and I was left hanging there.
From there we were in the home stretch. A quick dip in the lake then immediately into some mud made sure that the mud seeped into every crack and crevice on your body!
After that we ran back to the spectator area for the grand finale. There was a slippery wall climb (not at all difficult) and the “even bigger” mud pit just before the finish (pictured earlier in the post) that made for a good muddy finish!
The medal is a dog tag, only slightly larger. It’s not great but not too bad either, I like the shirt and the buff much better (this coming from a self-proclaimed medal chaser) There was a rinse off area with actual real soap which is unusual… there were several wash stations but only one in use so it was pretty crowded. While I was washing off I had a guy offer to hose off my back, not that there’s anything wrong with that but it just seemed odd to get hosed down by a stranger lol. That is definitely a mud run first for me. After that we got our post-run food which was a bottle of water (thank God) and a bag of snacks.
Official Race Time: 1:38:23
58/68 in my age group
Considering my race time for a 10K is about 1:10 I would say that was a good time with all of the obstacles and hills involved. I’m never out to “win”, that’s not even possible for me. The day someone pays me to run is the day I’ll push myself to the limits, but this is money out of my pocket so I want to enjoy it and well… be able to walk the next day. Overall it was a good race, I may do it again but it’s not on my “must do” list. Maybe if they fix the water issue I’d have more interest.