Wicked Mud Run – 2013

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* From: Andrew Fogarty

* Event Details
Wicked Mud Run was held at the Bolton Fair Grounds, located in Lancaster MA. The venue was easy to get to, located only 5 miles off of 495. The parking lot came up rather quickly once in the general area, and was slightly recessed from the main road, perhaps signs in advance may’ve been helpful in advising participants of the upcoming parking lot. Parking was adequate, as a volunteer arriving early and working registration, I was unable to see how staff handled a volume of cars as the day progressed. The Parking lot was grass, which in dry weather works, but many of us know how mud in a parking field can almost ruin an event (Warrior Dash 2011 in Amesbury comes to mind).

Located behind the main lot was the actual race venue, festival area, after race beverage area, registration cook out area, and race course. The general layout posed some logistical issues. For example, once you entered the “venue” you immediately walked between the start gate and finish gate, you were then presented with the beverage area and festival area, (festival area was slightly to the side, but located on the interior of the course). Behind the beverage area was registration, which included a free bag check (not labeled and located amongst multiple “booths” in a tight area), raffle, merchandise ($20 shirts) and a charity table for Autism Speaks. All areas however were in clear view of the first mile and last half mile of the course, leaving only about  1 mile that was obscured from direct view.

Registration was not adequately labeled between day of registration and pre-registered runners. Much of the registration process was also left to Race Menu, this in and of itself is not a bad thing, however as a company that is new to the timing business, they were also working out a few kinks. Day of registration was $75. Had I not volunteered and decided day of to run this event, I personally would’ve been disappointed if I had had to pay to run this event. Having run races before I do have a “biased” view of what a race should be, or at least what $75 should provide. If I had been a first time runner, or had suggested this event to a first time runner to get their feet wet, I would’ve been disappointed and compelled to tell them not to let this taint their opinion of the events we all love, as it was not an adequate representation of OCR on the whole.

Upon completion runners had to wire-cut their timing chips off their shoes. Race Menu used chips that are 2×4 inches and are attached to your shoe via wire-ties similar to the ones at the produce section of a market. We were then presented with a beer glass, no medals. Later we learned that the Race Director had wanted medals, but didn’t plan for a 6-8 week lead time in production. Each runner was given two wrist bands for beverages upon completing; these ranged from three varieties of beer, to Monster energy drinks to Honest Tea drinks.

After the race we did have a small meeting with the Race Director, Dan shed some light on the event that although provide clarity, does not overly instill confidence in his future Wicked Mud Run events. For example, Dan specifically pointed out that he does not want to be Spartan Race, or Tough Mudder, that is ok, we all have our own ideals of what an OCR should be. Until this statement we were left wondering if Dan or his team had ever run on OCR, Dan did specify that he had, and that he set out to make the event that he idealized, there is nothing wrong with that desire. Dan specified one of his main focuses was supporting his chosen charities with proceeds, that is part of what drove cost. Dan also outlined that he had hoped for more and better obstacles but had issues with a contractor who pulled out mid build. To me, that is a MAJOR issue, for an inaugural event which you plan to make a series (up to once a month per Dan’s ideal schedule) you should go above and beyond
, word of mouth advertising would be a massive boost to a small local event like this, and with a failed launch, he now faces an even larger uphill battle, and being located in New England with so many big name events on competing weekends, Dan would benefit from targeting a first time runner market, and if the quality remains the same, it will not do much to give runners an accurate idea of our sport.

* Race Details
The race consisted of three heats, each starting at half hour intervals, and one additional staff and volunteer heat. Each heat contained approximately 50 members, given course distance, overall participant count, and seeing how rapid corrals work at other events, I felt that a smaller heat size every 10-15 minutes would’ve been more beneficial for spectators as it would’ve had a more steady flow of participants on course within view then massive lag times once runners went out of sight.

The course was approximately 2.7 miles, but had been billed as 3.1, not a big issue, but is a sizable difference. On the whole the course was relatively flat, small hills were located at the beginning of the course, but were nowhere near the scale of the hill at Amesbury. The course was tightly packed through the use of switchbacks, for example, the first half mile was up and down the same hill for three round trips and only contained one obstacle (sandbag carry) the next leg of the course was also approximately half a mile and contained numerous switchbacks, 3 small hills immediately followed by dug out mud pits (only one back hoe scoop wide) these pits did not cause medical injuries, but did trip up inexperienced runners, while those who have seen similar obstacles at Spartan events were able to time, and leap the pits. Within these switch backs there was one portion with 3-4 walls, each getting taller than the last, a low hop, a mid- thigh height wall, a 4 foot wall and th
en an 8ft wall which did have foot holds and ropes (this is the wall in our team picture).

The course then ran behind registration/bag check area and out of sight, and through a shallow pond where we were kept to within 4 feet of the beach, upon exiting the pond this is where water stop 1 was located. There was an obstacle meant to approximate a barbed wire crawl, which was chain-link fence panels propped up on hay bales. Again the course used multiple switchbacks which ultimately just crossed the same wall of concrete “jersey” barriers and hay bales. Mid repetitive wall jump we reached mile 1.5. after this leg we had a dirt pile climb into a mud pit with logs across, I anticipated the water to be deeper and that we’d need to go under the 2 poles, we were able to climb over them, at 6ft 1, I could’ve easily stepped over each pole. The next obstacle was a barn with tires, both on the floor and hanging from the ceiling. We then entered a small corral that was filled with multiple suspended wood fences to crawl under, and then over a cattle gate, water stop 2
was located at this point.

At this stage we entered a wooded path, which had minor logs across the ground at one stage, a 12ft pile of sand to climb and descend and back to a field that was visible to the race start and finish area. This area had multiple switch backs again, and another 4 wall obstacle system, same order as the first, however the 4th wall had large holes (1-2 feet between boards for the width of the wall) intended to form a ladder. After descending this wall we reach 2.5 miles, ran past the 3rd water stop (same location as the first) back through the same pond as before but from the other shore, onto land again and finished with a quarter mile stretch to the finish.

This event on the whole was not an over challenging race, however did serve as a benchmark to say “I need to work on 8ft wall” or “I know that I can now sprint a hill with a sand bag when I was unable to at prior events. I would not recommend this event to first time runners to see the sport, nor would I suggest anyone looking for a challenge run this course. However if you have a free few hours and insist on trying it for yourself, then I suggest volunteering to save the entry fee. Personally, the best part of this event was the social aspect, getting Spahtens together and meeting one another, as this was my first “event” with the team since joining.

* Rating
Below Average


* From: Jeanine Peirce

* Event Details
Parking: free & easy.
Facilities: Extremely nice for spectators. 2 large roofed picnic areas provided shade. Plenty of easy access viewing areas to catch runners in action.
Schwag: No bling this race, though promises of next time, but I am pretty fond of the pint glass with the word Wicked on it. Race shirt is not tech for financial reasons. New race & tech is big money.
Volunteering: Great way to spend the day. Received “wicked staff” shirt & a free race & free food. Anything needed on the course was immediately taken care of. Owners genuinely took interest in our opinions on site.

* Race Details
Course was a runners course with lots of switchbacks. No obstacle was difficult: sandbag carry was light though the hill helped spread out the start of the race, walls of varying levels, crawling under fencing, side of pond runs were refreshing on a hot/humid day.

I hope that they do bring in “wicked mud” next time. A portion of the course was unavailable race day which was said to be about 1/2 their mud. Only a few trenches were potential for mud. The portion of course that ran off into the woods should include more obstacles. It had a few logs to leap over and a decent mound of dirt to climb, but there was room for more wickedness back there. I’m all for more obstacles!

Owners mentioned new obstacles will be built as well as a kids run. Keep in mind, Spahtkins have high expectations. I don’t doubt that kids 10+ could run the course as is.

As I told them on race day, “If they build it, we will come!”

* Rating


* From: Gretchen

* Event Details
Considering this was a first time event that was VERY small, it was a nice day.

After an lot of back and forth and bad communication by the race director, I ended up being a volunteer. He did give me my registration refund very quickly once it was all settled. Volunteering went fine on the day of the race and we ran our own volunteer heat at the end.

Parking was easy and free, which is nice
The port a johns should have been closer to the race start/finish but at least they had enough. The wash off station was not well marked but not really necessary given the lack of mud.

Food was free, the beer drinkers seemed excited about the free beer. The Pint glass was fine but I know some people like medals better. Not much for vendors but they did have a live band that wasn’t too bad.

It has a small time, family feel to it. Not a bad thing but just different from some of the bigger named races. But- had I paid the $70 registration, I would have been disappointed in the overall event. I can only afford to pick a few races this summer and would not have felt that I got my money’s worth from this one. I would have been happy to pay $35 given the obstacles and race itself.

The race director said he has big plans to make it bigger and better with more obstacles as it grows. I would be willing to volunteer again to see the changes.

* Race Details
I had mixed feelings on the course.  The switch back running in the open field was really hot and un-ending. A variety of trails in the woods or something would have been a nice change and cooler.  I did enjoy the sand bag carry, the wall and the pond (twice!). But they needed more obstacles, many more. And more mud as it was called the Wicked Mud run…there was hardly any. I understand they had some problems with the contractor and the location but I would have been really upset if I had paid the full registration of $70.

* Rating


* From: Marc ford

* Event Details
There was performers and samples and local groups there.  A very friendly atmosphere.  The event was well,organized and necessary adjustments through the day were made with ease.

* Race Details
The course was well laid out and set up in a way so as to not have to wait for other racers and it allowed the stronger or more determined athletes a chance to get out in the front early.  So all competitors were able to comfortably enjoy running the course.

* Rating

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