The Almighty Mud Run – A Review
After spending almost every weekend racing at one of the “Big 4” races (Spartan, Savage, BattleFrog and Tough Mudder) sometimes one needs to step back and enjoy the local mud runs put on in the area and the Almighty Mud Run fits that bill.
This race, held in central Alabama (Billingsley, AL to be precise) is just a 2.5 hour drive from Atlanta and provided a pleasant diversion from the big races. The course is about 20 minutes off of Interstate 65 between Montgomery and Birmingham, AL. With only about 500 registrants this year, it was a welcome change from the pace of a Spartan or Savage race. The race course is a 5k with 25 obstacles scattered throughout.
Unlike to big races where the first obstacle is going from the parking lot to registration, parking was in the same field as the registration tent, and maybe a 75 yd. walk from the start/finish area. NICE!! But was even better is the fact that the race is held at the beautiful BridgeStone Retreat Center so there are cabins available for overnight use making the walk to the start/finish area a breeze. Members of my team, GORMR, were provided 2 cabins for those that wanted to spend the night, each cabin sleeping approx. 10 -12 people (in bunk bed style.) I especially liked having hot showers in the cabins available after you finished racing. Sweet!!
The other nice thing about this race is who the race benefits. Not a big race company, but rather it is a 5K Mud Run to benefit orphans. At this year’s start line were a group of Ukrainian orphans cheering us on as we started our run. So not only do you have a great time, but you help orphans from all over the world.
But I am sure you want to hear about the course. As I mentioned, a 5k with 25 obstacles and you will get muddy! There were, if I recall, 8 mud pits ranging from a watery soupy mud to a “get your shoes stuck in the mud” type of mud. Luckily though the water obstacles like the pond crossing, polar dip (dumpster filled with ice) and the oil rig (with an awesome water slide) were spread out enough that by the time you crossed the finish line you were not caked in a layer of mud, just really wet.
And the use of tires on this course is amazing. I think all the old tires from my truck ended up somewhere on the course, from the Tire Falls (think of what appeared to be a non-stop path of widely placed tires testing your ability to maneuver quickly while making you lift your legs) to the tire-wall (a cargo net made of tires) and one obstacle in which you had to crawl under a row of tires in the mud.
I especially liked the mini-a-frames, which were placed going uphill as well as the inverted walls. One obstacle, the Barn, was nothing more than a climb up a wooden ladder into a barn and then a climb back down. While a nice and easy obstacle, was not sure why it was there. I was hoping there was a pole slide in it, but no such luck. The final obstacle of the race was called the Sherriff’s Taser and I was dreading this. I hate the electro-shock that you get at Tough Mudder and was thinking it was like that. Thankfully it was more like a mild “pinch” than a heart stopping jolt.
But the one thing that I liked the most was what they called the “All-Star Obstacles.” This was a total of 7 obstacles that were a bit more challenging than the regular obstacle at that location. Basically you could run the All-Star course by getting a blue wrist band at the start, and at each of the All-Star obstacles if you completed it successfully, they punched a hole in your band. Complete the course with 7 holes punched from each of the obstacles and you earned a blue Almighty Mud Run bandana. And there was not a surcharge to run the All-Star obstacles, in fact you could attempt them if you did not have the blue band, you just did not earn any awards.
And something I was not aware of was the prize money available to the person that shattered the course record of just over 30 minutes. I did not think anyone would beat that. Well congrats to Bennett Browder for shattering the course record and taking home a check for $1,750.00! I believe he did it in about 28 minutes. Hell, I wish I could run 5k road race that fast, much less one with hills and 25 obstacles.
There were plenty of bananas and vanilla wafers for the finishers. Also there were outdoor showers, not hoses, for those that wanted to remove any mud from after the race. (Did I mention the cabins had hot showers!!) And a couple of vendors there sold lemonade and funnel cakes for quenching that after race thirst and munchies.
This was my first Almighty Mud Run and I will be back next year. It is a fun run, benefitting a worthwhile cause, with great volunteer support. Small enough to be family orientated, with a challenging yet enjoyable number of obstacles. And being in central Alabama, it is located to a number of people (Yeah speaking to you folks in Florida.. LOL) Hope to see more of my OCR peeps there in 2015.
About the reviewer.. John Tackett is a member of GORMR (Georgia Obstacle Racers and Mud Runners) as well as a member of the “Dirty Old Men” race group. John can be found doing OCR’s and road races all over the southeast. When not doing races he can be found riding his bicycle all over Atlanta and posting his “interactions with the public” on his Facebook page. He is usually the one that has the Fireball at races so if you need a shot, let him know.
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