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, Hartford CT, 6/22/14

I've said it before, and I'll say it once again with this now being my seventh Down and Dirty race... this series is built on its very consistent product as well as its reputation for being a family friendly and all-abilities event.  It was as if I warp-zoned to exactly a year ago this weekend, as nothing really changed from their 2013 event, save a few minor tweaks.  For the most part, that's a really good thing (I came back, didn't I?), though perhaps it doesn't leave a whole lot for The Mudman to Report on ;)

1. COURSE-  I think the course might have been set up here from last year and just left untouched lol.  From what I could remember, almost every path and turn was the same, and even my chip time was within 10 seconds of my 2013 finish!  Hartford's Riverside Park is almost totally flat except for the one 50 yard incline in the first minute of the race, so almost all times (for both the 3 or 6 mile race options) are uncharacteristically fast for an obstacle race. This year did have a heavier sandbag carry compared to last year, and there was also a sandbag pulley hoist that might not have been there before.  The mud was as muddy as ever, especially the last finish line pit, which I know has become their trademark ending.  Still my favorite obstacle, the two story cargo net climb blocks near the last 1/4 mile, made its return appearance to be the only real high climbing element.  Grade = B

2. FESTIVAL-  Even though the entire race day is short- heats only running until 10am or so- the morning is filled with fun to do and see while you wait before or after your race.  Merrell shoes and Subaru are the main sponsors and dominate the festival area with tents and giveaways (or to purchase shoes available on site).  A number of contests and games are spread between the morning's awards ceremonies, including the military pullup contest which always draws a big crowd of spectators.  If that's not for you, its fun enough to just spend hours watching the racers trudge through the grande finale mud pit on their way to the finish chute- no one, adults or kids alike, leaves without being completely covered in muck!  Grade = A

3. SWAG-  While they no longer give you the sandwich, chip, and soda lunch that Merrell had in years past, they did step up in the snack department with a brown paper bag filled with Lara Bars, orange, and gummy fruit chews, plus a water bottle.  But what's really worth bragging about is the actual event swag, both at registration and post race.  Everyone gets one of their awesome tech tees (I recommend getting a size larger than normal though as they tend to run small/short), a stretchy headband thingamajig (which is awesome in colder months), and then a sweet dogtag finisher medal.  In addition, I again was lucky enough to pull out a first place finish in my age group (and first overall!) to earn a Merrell gift certificate that came with a newly designed gold medal for the placement (last year's top 3 medals were a larger version of the finisher dogtag- much nicer this year!) Grade = A