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.

MERRELL DOWN & DIRTY, Bronx NY, 9/29/13

One of my "original three" from back in 2010, making this my 4th time at Merrell's Bronx NY race.  Consistency has been the keyword all along, and for the most part, every aspect of this event has been a carbon copy of 2011 and 2012 (The Mudman Report wasn't born yet in 2010). And because I have really enjoyed these Down and Dirty Mud Runs, this was also the second year in a row I made it to an additional location- this June in Hartford CT and last June in Denver CO. This is one I expect to visit every fall, as it is also a short drive and just a toll on the Throgs Neck Bridge to get there for me.

1.  COURSE:  The same 5k course around Orchard Beach gave us only a few new obstacles like the cargo net two-story stair climb (which we did see in Hartford), and a slight change in order of the last few leading up to the finish.  Most every obstacle was staffed by members of the armed forces, but as this is a soft competition race, there was not much enforcement of any strict standards or even required completion of any obstacles.  For that reason, it confuses me that this is still a timed event, with awards up for grabs (see below in "Swag"), but either way Merrell puts on a nice event that is certainly capable to finish by runners in any shape or age, even some in their 90's as we have seen before!  GRADE = B

2.  FESTIVAL:  A race afterparty lives and dies primarily by the weather that day, and Merrell has had the best of luck as all six of their races I have been to have been picture perfect days to enjoy the sunshine while the mud bakes in.  Actually, one of the nice parts of this venue is the stretch of ocean beach (part of the course as well) that racers smartly return to take a quick "bath" in, rather than brave the cold garden hose option.  I could be wrong, but the vendor village seemed a little smaller than before (less sponsors?).  Still, there were plenty of samples from those that made it.  What was missing, however, were the refreshments and food options of past races.  I know they used to offer all racers a FREE burger/chips/drink tray, and that was mysteriously gone.  Stinks for those that were expecting it, and didn't bring anything to snack on.  GRADE = B

3.  SWAG:  The registration pickup gives you a handful of swag pre-race.  Literally, a your hands... as in, with out any bag to put it in, which was a little awkward.  Bib, tech tshirt (which I have always bragged about), headband, mini LaraBar, and some shampoo or gel hair products- glad I brought a bookbag with me.  The finisher dogtag medal is a winner once again, with a new design and 2013 date on it.  And top 3 awards in gold, silver, and bronze are larger size of the swag version (1st placers also get a Merrell gift card to be used on their website).  What I really love about this race series is that there are so many prize categories- top 3 for both males and females in five year age groups, for barefoot racing, in military division, and new was a "brick" (weighted ruck) division- by my count a total of nearly 50 categories between the 5k and 10k races!  That's a lot of winners! GRADE = A