After each mud run or obstacle race I compete in, you'll get my review and grades for each event to help you decide which ones you might want to sign up for. The following categories will be discussed:

1. COURSE- the design, venue, and setup of the race itself- how creative/ adventurous/ difficult the obstacles were, and obviously... how was the MUD?!?

2. FESTIVAL- all the fun beyond the actual race- the social atmosphere which usually includes food, beer garden, dj/ music/ concert, contests, vendors, and more during the after-party

3. SWAG- the included goodie bag and prizes up for grabs- all the "free" stuff that comes with price of entry and the quality of awards, shirts, and other giveaways

Feel free to use the search box to read up on any past topics you might be looking for.

TOUGH MUDDER, Miami FL, 3/2/13

For those of you who don't know, I commit to doing just one Tough Mudder every year, each in a different location.  My previous two were 2011's Tri-State NJ and 2012's Pennsylvania, both frigid Northeast events.  So, when this March's Florida event had surprise 58 degree rainy weather, I knew we weren't off to the warm tropical vacation race I was expecting. The smaller than usual participant numbers (heats ending around mid-day!) also shook me as to something being a little off.

1. COURSE-  TM loves to make their courses long- or longer than the "typical" mud run/obstacale race- perhaps as a more formidable challenge or just to have that special niche in this racing world.  But, sometimes when they do that, like this Miami event, it becomes obvious that the course is just being "stretched" to more than it should be.  Many of the obstacles were great and excellent physical or mental challenges (vs your fears/phobias), but between them were often long and really boring flat run sections that seemed unnecessary just to turn it into a 12 mile design.  The positive note is that you did get to attempt a good number of obstacles along the way, perhaps 20 or more, giving you nice breaks between the run parts.  Mudman's personal accomplishment was finally completing both the Funky Monkey (bars) and Hanging Tough (rings)- as the hands were luckily able to thaw out enough by the time we stepped up to them.  Another plus was that for all the water obstacles (besides the ice filled dumpster of Arctic Enema, of course), the temperatures were pleasantly warm, as I've been accustomed to jumping/falling into bitter cold pools below.  Grade = B

2. FESTIVAL-  I hate to deduct any points due to weather, but the chilly gray skies did dampen the afterparty mood somewhat, as most were prepared only with shorts and tshirts (if that!) and shivering post race. When I ran NJ a few years ago, heated lamps were scattered around the picnic table grid to draw folks in toward the music stage and festival challenges. Nothing this time, though TM did have those silver foil sheets to wrap up in.. There was a band playing, but no one seemed to notice, whether because of the cold or the weak tunes they made. So what was good?  Well, I seemed to find the only deal on food with a BBQ half-chicken for $5, while all other food (and beer) options were extremely overpriced.  Good thing you do get a "free" pint of Dos Equis to wash down the mud.  Now don't even get me started on the merchandise tent pricetags...  Grade = C

3. SWAG-  Since Under Armour came on board last year, Mudder's finisher shirt has become one of the best in the industry.  And now, the year has been added to the front- a nice touch.  The coveted orange headband also bears the UA logo, but I've never put much value on something I wear for just a few hours and never again.  Probably the part I got most excited about was the literal endless buffet of Clif Bars and Shot Bloks that I came away with (and somehow miraculously fit in my carry-on luggage).  I think I've got snacks for at least the next month ;)  Grade = A