Mud Guts & Glory is more than just a race. Let me revise that statement. Mud Guts & Glory is more than just a GREAT race. I was reminded of this again and again on Friday and Saturday each time I talked with the staff and volunteers for King’s Domain. MGG is a mechanism for helping people, and not just the typical “OCR motivating people to get fit” type of help. MGG exists solely to fund life-changing experiences for families and youth, many of whom feel they have little to live for. From the outsider’s perspective, MGG may seem like just a beautiful, but rugged course with innovative obstacles such as the sternum checker, weaver ladder, and castle tower. However, spend some time behind the scenes with everyone involved and the perspective changes. There is truly no pretense behind the purpose in these people’s lives and it carries over to every aspect of the event.
While the inaugural MGG was fantastic (see my review here), the staff at King’s Domain listened intently to racer suggestions and improved it the second time around. Two new challenging obstacles were added. The first was a series of 6 foot, 10 foot (yes, 10), and 8 foot walls. The 10 foot walls had thin rocks at the base that could be used to push off for a jump to the top. The second obstacle was a pole-ish traverse. I don’t have the exact specs, but it was essentially a 25 feet expanse of an 8 inch pipe mounted 5 feet off the ground. Racers had to go across the pipe “monkey or possum style” and dismount. Simple enough, but taxing on the upper body. Two other changes included a re-location of the starting line to the spectator area and the addition of physical (as opposed to time) penalties to 4 of the more difficult obstacles. I don’t know what all the penalties were, but the monkey’s revenge penalty was an overhead slosh pipe carry – distance determined by how much of the obstacle successfully completed. Miss the target (like I did) with the paintball slingshot and you had to do a number of elbow-to-knee squats with a slosh pipe.
I am currently in my racing off-season for a few months, concentrating on form, flexibility, and correcting muscular imbalances and instabilities. This is the ONLY race that I would do after my season’s end at the Vermont Beast. Although it probably set me back two or three weeks in my healing and strengthening process, I have no regrets for attending. I was a little racer schizophrenic this time around, which was very unusual for me. I alternated between racing for fun, enjoying the scenery (like watching a herd of deer bounding through the woods) and catching the competitive fire to outrun some of my fellow racers. I didn’t even think to check my final finishing time or which place I was in. If I had to guess, I was probably somewhere between 10th and 15th, but I could be way off. I was there for a different purpose and to enjoy a weekend of time spent with my wife and OCR friends Brad Kloha, Adrian Bijanada from OCR Gear, Junyong Pak, Jeffrey Bent, Taylor Clark, T.J. Shanteau, Chris Sharp, Kevin Jones, and the list continues. I need to stop naming names because it could go on for awhile.
If you want to know more about this race, please contact me through my OnMyWayToSparta Facebook athlete page. I honestly expect MGG to quickly become a must-do for OCR enthusiasts. Plans are already underway to add distance and even more innovative obstacles to the course. Prize money is as good as it gets right now and there are always top-name stars showing up. If that is not enough, you should just hear the stories that emerge!