Well they call it a “Foam” Fest and there is foam but there is mostly MUD. Lots and lots of MUD. I wasn’t expecting that I guess. I thought this was going to be good “clean” fun. My friend Paula did warn me that there would be mud and to dress appropriately though, but even she was not prepared for the amount of mud we encountered. I am glad she did give me a heads-up though.
Our wave began at 9:20 and since we didn’t pick up bibs the day before, we had to get there early to do so. The run was about an hour away and we were told to carpool so my friends and I left bright and early on Saturday morning for a new adventure. I had never done anything like this before and had absolutely no idea what to expect. I brought a change of clothes (didn’t forget underclothes and shoes), lots of garbage bags, water bottle, towels, ziplock bags and at the last minute threw in a container of baby wipes (glad I did!).
We got there uneventfully, checked in, snapped some final pictures from the phones before checking them in (no way would I take a phone on that course!) and got our bibs. There was no turning back at that point! We wandered around and saw the people from the earliest wave coming in off the course. They don’t look so bad. Some were barely muddy at all even. Little did we know that the course and foam were nice and fresh and had cleared off most of the evidence of the insanity they had just been through. Yes, it was quite deceiving.
We checked out the vendors and what little we could see of the final leg of the course (namely the three 3-story slides that waited at the end of the path). Those looked menacing, but still like lots of fun. There was a DJ getting the runners in the wave before us all pumped up. People milling around, some dancing and being goofy, some looking extremely apprehensive and nervous, but everyone was just having a good time. We saw lots of teams and people dressed alike in t-shirts. There were even several in costumes. TuTu’s were very popular and I kept thinking that those are not going to do well in mud.
Finally, it was our turn. We approached the starting line and waited listening for instructions from the DJ. We found out that the event benefits the Special Olympics and heard from their representative. So impressive what they do despite circumstances. We were given the warnings, do’s, and don’ts, and we were reminded not to eat or inhale the foam. Then, we were off!
Because time was not a factor for this run, my friends were not wanting to run and I didn’t want to completely leave them. So I jogged ahead a bit then waited or came back for them along the way. I would have loved to just plow through and see how fast I could have gone, but it was so much more fun to have friends to chat with along the way. We approached the first mud part and it was slick. Super slick, no running on this stuff anyway. We slid your way through and tried hard not to fall too many times. There were pools of mud with crazy drop offs, super slick, steep ravines to climb, muck to wade through, rope ladders to climb up and down, walls to scale, inflatables filled with water and foam to slide on or work in and out of. And, most of all, people to dodge. When the person in front of you went down, hold tight because you are likely to be next.
The worst one (for me) was when I had walked just ahead of my friends to the next obstacle. It was a mud pit. It didn’t look so bad, but it was like quicksand and I got STUCK. I mean really, really stuck. I was trying with all I had to get out of this thing but just keep getting sucked deeper and deeper. After a couple of minutes, my friends came along and were able to skirt along the side and, thankfully for them, they did not get stuck. At this point, I was on my hands and knees chest-deep in super thick muck and getting nowhere. There was nothing to grab to pull myself out. My friends were cracking up at my expense (it had to be a pretty pathetic sight for sure, and we can’t help but laugh about it). I’m even pretty sure that Paula snapped a picture or two. Finally my other friend found a long stick and gave me the end, so together we were able to pull me out.
One thing I noticed repeatedly was the number of people helping others: people they didn’t know and weren’t with. It was physically grueling work and the encouragement from others along the way was wonderful. Of course there were many that ran on by or stepped over others to keep going, but for the most part people were very helpful and giving a hand or a boost when they could.
As we approached mile marker #1 and the first water stop, we were so physically spent and just couldn’t believe it had only been a mile. How much more could we possibly have to endure? We continued on and plowed through obstacle after obstacle having a great time. There was a lot of waiting in line and we didn’t get in a hurry to get through so all told it took us almost 2 hours to go through the entire 3.1 miles. There were a couple of times we’d be waiting more than 20 minutes for our turn, though, so the time could be really deceiving. There was no one at the end with a stop watch telling you your time for this 5k for sure. It was all about having fun.
That is what we did, we had a blast! While it was physically draining and I was bruised and sore, it was so much fun and after it was all said and done, I can’t wait for the next one. I am signed up for the Pretty Muddy Mud Run in September, and I can’t wait. You can run with me if you want. Here’s the link to sign up for Pretty Muddy in Chicago. Or find a foam fest in your area and have a blast. I’d love to hear about other runs you have done. If you want to read more about our adventure you can check out Paula’s post on Frosted Fingers.
I was not compensated or given anything in exchange for my post and review. All opinions are my own.