Monday, October 29, 2012

Avoidance of Mud Runs and Relays

I have avoided invitations to run in mud runs, hero dashes, and relays for many reasons. First and foremost I plan my annual race calendar around a couple of "A" races. Other races need to be part of the training plan. 

Other reasons I have avoided relays and mud runs. 

1. Fear of injury. I have heard several stories of extremity fractures in mud runs. A fracture could undo a year of training. 

2. Matching goals and passion. I am not sure if I could find a good team match. I am pretty focused on time and not sure I would fit well with a relay team that wanted to interrupt beer drinking to go for 4 to 6 mile runs. On a related note I don't want to push my race goals and performance expectations on others. 

3. Expense. My budget can only handle about one destination marathon per year. I am not sure I have the room for a relay. For non"A" races my needs are pretty simple - good course, accurate timing, and good support. A t-shirt, fancy obstacles, live music, and a big party are not high on my list of race needs. 

4. Logistics. An ideal race is to easily drive and park at the start area. Warm-up for a few minutes, stroll to the start line, and run. Relays span multiple days and parking and travel details seem a bit more than I am ready to take on. 

How about you? Do the benefits of relays and mud runs outweigh my concerns?  


  1. You make some good points but there are some other considerations I'd like to propose.

    On one side are the folks more interested in having a good time while doing some running (without a specific objective or goal) for whom a well organized mud run might be a great option. That can take some of the 'pain' out of constant training. To your point about injuries, someone I know was very recently injured in a mud run and looks like surgery is now being planned... that is a real risk of obstacle courses!

    The team building aspects (or opportunities) of preparing for and completing a 200 mile relay race, with 6 or 12 people running (one at a time), is pretty special. It takes a certain amount of preparation and committment for that to come together in a way that many in EMS are not well tuned for, that is setting and achieving long term goals.

    The bonding opportunities are many and not everyone needs to keep the same pace or have the same level of preparation for it to work. This is obviously going to be more attractive to those willing to put a bit more into it than a 5K project.

    There aren't many team/group opportunities for runners unless you join a running group or otherwise make friends... and not many chances to do 'fun stuff' especially if you have a spouse and/or kids that can't keep your training schedule.


  2. We have a Spartan Race coming to Kalispell in the spring of 2013 ( I'm leery of participating because of #1 above only. Like most paramedics I earn my money with my back (and arms and legs). A long term injury could be financially devastating for my family. But, I'm a hypocrite, because this fear doesn't keep me from backcountry skiing and mountain biking. I think it is that I've been skiing and biking for so long that I understand the risks better, while a Tough Mudder et al is an unknown. Also, they seem a little contrived. I have plenty of organic adventure out my door. Why leap burning hay-bales when I have plenty of streams to jump? Why crawl under barbwire when I can crawl under down trees across the trail?

    I am considering an adventure race for this spring: I like it because it sounds like a neat mental challenge. It is a team event (you must travel together) and includes running, mtn biking, paddling and navigating. There is no "course". It is on the B-list. We will see if it fits into my schedule.

    I did a relay this last year ( It was fun because it was remote and had a small number of participants. The down side was waiting and waiting for my turn to run. I may do it solo next year, but probably not as a relay. My race report is at:

    If I was an investor I would put money into these events now and sell in July. I suspect the popularity of mud events will peak in 2013. Most participants are in it for the bragging rights. Once that demographic is exhausted they will be in decline.

    I hope it motivates some to get off the couch. If it does then it will be successful, regardless of the number of arm fractures.

  3. Speaking of the Spartan Race, this shows up in my news feed:

    Interesting that the Chamber is subsidizing the event. Isn't the Spartan a for-profit? They can't make their own money off of 3000 participants (plus they charge for prime spectator seating)? We have plenty of non-profit events around the valley with less then 1000 participants that don't get subsidized.

    I do recognize that this is "purely business". The Spartan will draw in folks, unlike most of our other events that don't bring in much outside money. Sure, these folks will come back to visit Glacier when the park is "open" (it is always open, but most people think it isn't if the Going to Sun Road is still closed). I get it. It's about the dollars. Just the same, I think I'll keep supporting the "local events."