Merrells Down & Dirty Obstacle Course Pt. 1: My first ever mud run!!! (2012)

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a bright and sunny Sunday morning down here in Miami, FL; the venue, Miami Metro Zoo. I really had no idea what to expect this being my first mud run ever.

My friend and I dressed up as pigs 2 & 3. Pig 1 was M.I.A. because it was Cinco De Mayo the night before, and yeahhhhhh. Anyways, before we knew it we were at the start line ready to go. Soon as they let us off, it was such a rush, I wanted to sprint the whole course. We ended up doing the 5k which was actually perfect for our first mud run. I say that because the course offers both a 5k & 10k version with a few more obstacles. It may have been short, but it was good enough to get me hooked into OCRs till this very day. Looking back after having completed many other OCRs since then, it wasn’t the hardest race I can remember, but man was it dirty. I remember I had to clean mud out of my ears for weeks after crawling through the trenches before crossing that finish line, it probably didn’t help at all that I dove in head first and played in the mud as well. I was a little disappointed though, seeing as how it was in a zoo, I thought we would run with the animals, maybe next time.

The obstacles are not too bad at all. The first thing I remember coming up on was someone telling us to drop and give them 20 push ups. There was a sand bag carry. Short walls to jump over and some climbing with cargo net and rock wall obstacles as well. Great starter event for anyone looking to start doing OCRs, but not wanting to do anything too hard.

The Pros:

-Great parking coordination/ volunteers

-Decent, but not hard obstacles

-Really dirty

The Cons:

-Can’t really think of any. Either I was so excited that day about my first mud run that I overlooked anything being bad about the event, or my memory is shot.


I wasn’t able to attend this years Down & Dirty (2013) because I had registered for another OCR the same weekend, but I had heard it wasn’t as good as the one I first attended back in 2012. Anyone else do this event this year?

And people always ask what I do to prepare for such events; the honest truth, nothing. I run a couple times a week and do body weight exercises, but that’s about it. The event wasn’t so hard that you had to be a super crazy cross fitter or gymnast to complete it. What would I recommend to first timers doing a mud run though is:

-Compression socks: They are a lifesaver. If you get muddy or wet or are running through trails, the compression keeps your legs and feet feeling fine and I have not gotten any blisters to this day because of them.

-Shoes: You definitely need the right shoes for these. I use trail shoes that I got from my local running store (SoleRunners). You shouldn’t go out and buy whatever is popular, each person has their own running style and should be consulted by specialists to get the right shoes for that particular running style.

-Clothes? I would not be the best person to ask about this category. I run my events in speedos and a piggy hat. Costumes are the way to go though. You have so much more fun than running in plain old running clothes!

-BUT! I would advise against anything cotton, seeing as how they retain water and will weigh you down the further you get into these courses.

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