A few weeks ago when Matt B. Davis of Obstacle Racing Media contacted me about going up to Ohio for a new race to help them with exposure and advice for their future races, I accepted simply because I want to help the sport flourish. I’ll admit my expectations weren’t all that high, but that quickly changed over the course of the new few days. First, I found out that some of my OCR friends (Dan Krueger) and other great people who I had heard of, but had yet to meet (Rob Butler, Brad Kloha, Holly Joy Berkey, & Heather Gannoe) were also coming. OCR star power began to shoot out of the roof when Amelia Boone and Junyong Pak were also added to the list. Add Dhani Jones and Spike TV, who would be there filming a documentary for Playbook360 and it began to get interesting. I started seeing photos of obstacles on social media and when I and the other athletes walked on to the course Friday night, we were all in full realization that this was no ordinary race. After dinner with the race director and other leadership of King’s Domain, I knew we were part of the beginning of something special. Without going into detail, let me just state that King’s Domain, who built the permanent Mud Guts & Glory course does tremendous things for the youth and families of Ohio. Listening to the passion and vision of what they are trying to achieve through the permanent course was inspirational. At that point, there was no doubt in my mind that Mud Guts & Glory will flourish and hopefully be a model for future races. King’s Domain is not in this for the money and it was readily apparent with the quality of the obstacles and the time and money spent designing and laying out the course. They are on a mission and one which I am fully behind. I haven’t even gotten to a description of the race and that is because it is extremely difficult for me to separate my experience from this weekend from the race itself. It was all so fabulous, but I promised a race review, so here you go.
If lining up beside Dhani Jones, Amelia Boone, & Junyong Pak wasn’t intimidating enough, the sprint up the first hill to begin the course was. I will try to limit my use of the word ‘hill’ in this post, but there were lots of them and steep ones. REALLY steep ones. I didn’t rush out too fast because I had glimpses of what was in store over the next 5 miles. Monkey bars, hills, rope climbs, hills, log carries, hills, log drags, hills. Not in the beginning and not in that order, but you get the picture. As we looped back to the festival area we were met with the first real set of obstacles…. a gauntlet of them. First was an electric fence crawl. Then walls. Next was a ridiculous monkey bar obstacle that only a few completed the way it was designed to be crossed. Words aren’t adequate. See the picture. The picture isn’t adequate. You should just come see it for yourself. After that, a series of over under logs in muddy water. Immediately following that was the castle tower, a 30 foot obstacle to scale up and over. See the picture. Then there were hills. Rocky hills. Technical running. Fun running! My kind of race! Lots of use of the natural terrain, especially logs. Mud Guts & Glory likes their logs. I may have forgotten to mention that were hills. Beautiful scenery throughout. Probably my favorite obstacle and a challenging one was the weaver ladder. You had to navigate over, under, over, under, etc., without letting your feet touch the ground. There is a technique to this. There was a sling shot obstacle…very cool. There was also a sternum checker obstacle that was navigated by running up logs and leaping on and over a suspended log. That was fun, but make sure you do it right the first time. Near the end of the race a very long, very steep decline took you down into the ravine. This involved a semi-rappel because it was too steep to run down. You go down and then you go back up. The ascent was worse and required both upper body and lower body strength to pull yourself up the 50 or 60 yard cliff while the dirt slid out from underneath your feet. Once again, see photo below! Finally, a short run to a long, fun water slide. Out of that and then sprint 100 yards to the end. I finished 7th overall, but I ran this mostly for fun as were most of my OCR colleagues. Local boy and my friend, Taylor Clark, finished 3rd overall proving once again that he is among the best in obstacle racing.
Do this race when you get a chance. They’ll be around for awhile and took the time to ask pointed questions about what can be done to make this race top of the line. Mud Guts and Glory is going to become one of the baddest, toughest, exhilarating races around over the next few months and years. It’s a course designed for both elite and everyday racers to enjoy. It’s also there for a reason, a very good reason. I’m happy and humbled to be a part of its beginning and can’t wait to return.
P.S. I didn’t even mention the family course, which my daughter ran. It’s top notch too and I hope someone else writes about it.
Photos courtesy of Mud Guts & Glory and others. Thx!