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, 10/5/14

It's fair to say I know this race pretty well, as I've hit this one up for 5 consecutive years now- the only event I've been able to keep that streak alive for.  So obviously I like coming back to the Bronx in October for more than just Yankees games (though sadly, not this year for the Bombers), as this will probably be a mainstay for me every Fall as the OCR season is closing out.  I know they have been doing more marketing for their events this year, and it did feel like they had drawn a slightly bigger crowd than in the past, a good sign I'll be back again to make it 6 years running at Pelham Bay Park.

1.  COURSE-  They haven't changed their blueprint in all the times I've run this 5k (they also have a 10k course), save for a few obstacles switched around or added.  So you can go back to read what I've said about this event from past years (here's links to: 2013, 2012, 2011), and see that maybe their success has been based on that consistency. My overall favorite part of this race is the park itself, which begins and ends along Orchard Beach, a hidden gem of calm (and surprisingly warm) water and beachfront that is as much fun to wade through during that last quarter mile of the course as it is also a ritual for many to take a quick swim (aka body bath and pre-laundry rinse) after the race.  GRADE = B

2.  FESTIVAL-  Once again, even as the first weekend of October in NY has started to signal cooler weather settling in, they got another gorgeous sunny day to give all their participants and spectators a great Sunday of racing.  Things have changed a little over the years with the party and setup, namely the food that was offered.  Racers still did get a snack bag with trail mix and tangerine, but that's a far cry from a few seasons ago when they included a burger, chips, and drink for everyone.  I'm not sure all of what was for sale, but I did see a few people with chicken fingers and french fries- not exactly my post-race meal of choice though.  DJ music has replaced the live bands that we also remember from a couple years back, but my biggest surprise was the absence of their usual emcee (for those who know him, the Johnny Knoxville clone), who has always did a great job of keeping everyone excited and informed of the day's events.  GRADE = B

3.  SWAG-  I knew the same souvenirs from their race I ran in Hartford CT in June were coming my way.  Luckily this time in NY, unlike last year, we also got a big bag to store the goodies that came with registration- Paul Mitchell samples, Lara Bars, elastic scarf handband, and more.  The shirt was again the same black tech material (though each year has been a different color), and they remain among my favorite race giveaway shirts- simple, nice looking, and comfortable. And out of the dozens of race series I've tried out, these guys still do their prizes and awards ceremony the best.  There are two event distances, several categories in each, and then 5 year age group divisions on top of all those, which leaves plenty of medals to give out.  GRADE = A