Mudderella – Road Trip to Run

A Girls Guide To Cars | Mudderella - Road Trip To Run - Downinmud
Getting down & dirty

DowninmudWhen I was in high school, we mocked the people who got in their cars and drove to run on treadmills. Why couldn’t they lace up their sneakers and run in the streets?

But that was before destination marathons, Tough Mudders and the newest endurance feat, Mudderella.

I ran, slogged, climbed and clawed my way through the inaugural Mudderella, a 6 mile run punctuated by 15 obstacles.

Conquering The Mud; I'M In The Blue Muddy Tank

Conquering the mud; I’m in the blue muddy tank

The event, which drew about 3,000 participants, was held in rural Pennsylvania, away from public transportation. It required a 2 hour road trip from New York City, but we were rewarded with a spectacular lakeside setting, picture perfect weather and plenty of room for the festivities.

After we checked in, we were encouraged to glam up – apply purple war paint and temporary tattoos, use purple ribbons to tie up our hair and wrap our sneakers in purple duct tape so they would stay on when we waded through thigh high mud.

The purple was cute, but even before we even started to run, we were filthy and more dun-colored.

Fun Run

The fun run (I know, my idea of ‘fun’ has some looking askance – in this terminology, it means untimed) started with a 20 minute warm-up – stretches, burpees, planks and jumping jacks. We were doing this in the dirt, which was a harbinger of the terrain to come.

Mudderella, which allows male participants who are part of women-led teams, is all about empowerment and owning your strong, so a motivator – think bar mitzvah DJ – played loud pop music and exhorted us to scream and roar before we started. We started in waves so we weren’t crowded on the course.

But if you are thinking that starting later gives you the chance to sleep more, consider how much muddier everything gets as hundreds of people splash their way around.

Mud Mud Mud

We climbed over hay bales and rope walls, slithered under mesh through muddy fields, carried each other piggyback through mud and did wheelbarrows through …more mud.

After Muddarell'S First Obstacle

After Muddarella’s first obstacle

If that wasn’t muddy enough, we had several obstacles that involved climbing over huge mounds of mud, jumping into two or three foot deep muddy water and climbing over more mud.

Then there was doing a down dog over a mud-filled trench and moving sideways down the line, being careful to hold your form and not fall in. We also had to walk across logs, swing from tire swing to tire swing and, the final indignity, jump from a trampoline into a cargo net, climb up, then slide down into ice water.

I had mud in my eyes, mud in my armpits and mud in my sports bra. My running shoes were a lost cause; at the end, you are encouraged to donate them to charity.

Jumping Into A Muddy Trench

Jumping into a muddy trench

Choosing which shoes to run in was vexing; I didn’t want to ruin my shiny new Adidas, but they are my most comfortable running shoes. I decided to sacrifice my next newest pair, a pair I usually use for power walking. But they weren’t so great on the rocks and brambles, and I rolled my ankle on an out-of-sight branch.

At the end, most of us were bruised, scratched and filthy, and grinning from ear to ear. Shockingly, I didn’t break a nail, though I did tear my hand on one of the ropes.

At the Finish

We got headbands and hard cider when we crossed the finish line. Then we could hose ourselves off, change (there was a free bag check) and get a finisher’s t-shirt. White, so you want to stay away from those who haven’t changed.

There were also Luna bars, lake side yoga and massages, (for $10) plus a couple of food trucks.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell