There are a variety of mud runs across Canada. During 2016 in Alberta alone there were about a half dozen including Spartan Race, Mud Hero, Rugged Maniac, Tough Mudder and Wild Rose Rough Runner. Last year I got to try my first one. To start with they are so much fun! I never would've tried one but I found a groupon and figured I would give it a shot. It was great but there were a few things I wish I would've known.
- The late heats are defiantly warmer. A mud run at 3 degrees at 8 am is a little chilly, or bloody freezing, depends how you look at it. But I guess that's pretty obvious. The later heats on the other hand are warmer, sometimes to warm in the late afternoon. These heats also have a lot more people on the course and a lot more people have already run the course. This means lots of the obstacles may have some lines or maybe slippery with mud. If you are running with a group of friends for fun the later heats are great but if you are running to see how well you can do or running competitively the morning heats are a better option.
- When they say wear tight clothes they aren't kidding. You want something that wicks away moisture and that mud won't weigh down, less is more. That includes your shoes, I haven't lost a shoe (knock on wood) but you'd be surprised how many people do!
- If you can bring warm soapy water for afterward. Sure they have "showers" to wash you down afterwards but more often than not they are freezing cold hoses that you can only get half the mud off with. This is fine on a warm day but if it is cold it's nice to thaw out your toes and fingers (lets face it we live in Canada you don't know what you are going to get). If you can't do this then bring something to cover the seats of your vehicle and warm yourself up with after.
- Participation medals are mandatory. I have never had so many people question my sanity for saying no to a medal. Yes I think it is an accomplishment to complete these races but in all honesty I don't want a medal for participation. Some people are all for the swag but I would rather have less stuff in my house and do these races for the actual experience rather than a medal that says I did it. Despite people thinking you are crazy you can say no to a medal.
- The most important thing I wish I knew is that these races are not near as intimidating as one might think! They are meant to be fun and the people that race on a regular basis are very enthusiastic and passionate about OCR as a sport. I am not saying that you should try this without ever running a day in your life but they are meant for everyone. There are different levels to suit your capabilities and you can do them with a team or alone. Even if you can't find someone to go with I am sure you will find people to help you out or motivate you along the way.
I really enjoyed the few races I competed in, plan to check out a few more this year, and would love to hear about any other people recommend! If you haven't tried one before they are a ton of fun which makes the bruises totally worth it.
One of the best resources for finding races is http://www.mudrunguide.com/ which also has race reviews, news, and other resources.