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.

MUDMANX, Holmdel NJ, 7/19/14

I've known the team from MudmanX for a while now, and they've always been good to me (maybe because of my nickname?) over the last 4 events I've been to.  While they are still in their developing stages, and haven't quite yet exactly figured out their "schtick" in this ever-changing OCR world, a lot of new things have come from these guys in 2014 that have me excited about the direction I hope they're steering toward.

1. COURSE-  This was their first time setting up at the PNC Bank Arts Center, a small venue concert theater in Northern NJ, and it made me unsure of if this was going to be similar to the bunch of Spartan Race stadium series such as CitiField or Fenway Park.  While this race did center around the building, it actually did not go inside at all and mostly avoided what I figured would be lots of rows of stair climbing or that type of running through seat sections.  In fact the only similarity this had was the several parts of the race that were on paved roads around the venue's perimeter (which I honestly was not a fan of, being more of a trail runner myself).  When we did go off-road for the course, which required the elite heat to do two full laps of their 3.5 mile design, it was a fast pace on mostly flat fields, or again, pavement. It's weird to say, but I enjoyed the toughest part most, which was probably the slow stretch of mucky ravine in a wooded section that provided more than 6" deep of thick mud and followed then by the one steep dirt uphill that was your escape route.  Overall, obstacles weren't very difficult, and they weren't focused on the "4 Elements" as they have in the past.  They also took out the electric shock wires, which I don't think anyone had too much of a complaint on haha. The one big wish I have is that at least for their elite heat that they'll establish rules and obstacle penalties, as all other races (for awards) have put in place.  Here, it was a free for all and a lot of varying interpretations on how to run through it.  But again, to be a competitive and tough race, or more of a family affair fun run... remains to be seen.  Grade = B

2. FESTIVAL-  I actually liked what they had going on, while it lacked big name vendors or exciting games and contests for the crowd, the local feel was in effect (and that's sometimes a nice break sometimes from the DJ'd-out, big screen, in-your-face propaganda show that are at the big races).  There were a lot of tents with giveaways, while they were as random as deodorant sticks or swag from a local radio station. But there was also plenty of picnic table seating, a cleaner than usual hose/shower area, and plenty of beer to go around- which the  owner Jay was also very generous to hook everyone up with.  Grade = B

3. SWAG-  This category is where MMX has changed the most, but I see the new options as an improvement from 2012 and 2013. Previously, finishers received a branded headband, but the entire world even outside OCR knows that pretty much "belongs" to Tough Mudder.  So, rather they have moved to a dogtag medal for everyone that crosses the finish line (yes, though CMC and Merrell do, as well), but it's still an upgrade I think.  I also like that there are now a number of age group categories for awards with special medals (which I took 1st for what could be called their 35-70 "Old Man" division lol) beyond only having the top 3 overall men/women.  Shirt design has also changed as the race has toyed with their logo several times, but I'd like to see if they could get away from the "warning sign yellow" for their next generation? It's unique, but just doesn't go with my shoes.  Grade = B