Muddy Warrior Run 2017

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Before heading down to Chicago to tackle the Toughest Mudder, I made a pit stop outside of Rochester, MN and ran the Muddy Warrior Run.  The Muddy Warrior Run is a 5K locally-run OCR that’s very well-produced and designed, with some great obstacles and excellent use of the terrain at their venue.

Festival Area:

Everything was close together and easily accessible, with some food and nutrition vendors sprinkled throughout.  There was ample seating for people to hang out, and the bathroom/shower situation was solid.  Registration was done and over with quickly and smoothly.

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Venue:

The race venue is about 1 ½ hrs. from the Twin Cities, on the NE corner of the Rochester area.  From the parking area (which has lots of room and within walking distance to the registration tent), it looks like just a grouping of trees in the middle of a wide-open field.  This misled yours truly to think there wasn’t going to be much in fun terrain for this course.  Boy, was I wrong!

Course:

The race started off with a very energetic emcee getting all the racers pumped up and ready to tackle the course.  After getting all pumped up, we were off!

Leading up to the race, there had been some rain, and it was still raining on & off throughout the course.  This made the “muddy” part of the Muddy Warrior Run easy to live up to!  Big clumps of mud stuck to me as I crawled out of the barb wire crawl & headed into the trees.  This is where I ate my first impressions of the venue, as it opened into some great double-wide track through creek beds, roots were strewn all over the trail, and some decent inclines.  My watch gathered around 600 feet of elevation change in roughly 3.5 miles (not sure how accurate that is, but that’s what I’m going with!) so the course designer made use of every inch they could!

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Obstacles of Note

The log station, where we had to do 15 squats with the log & the Form Enforcer right there making sure we went deep enough on the squats (she was great!).  There were the normal walls to climb over but threw in a tall wall climb over and a traverse wall for a little bit of spiciness.  A couple of the most fun ones for me were the base jump into a pool of water, the straight pipe rig towards the end of the race, and the spear throw.

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Muddy Warrior Aftermath

After talking with some people that had done the course in previous years, they said this year’s course was much tougher than past years.  I also learned that the competitive wave people had bands, which meant it was mandatory obstacle completion.  They also had cash prizes for the top 3 overall, which is always great incentive to have the fast athletes show up.  Overall, everyone had mud on them, smiles on their faces, and phrases of “Can’t wait to do this again next year!” filling the air at Muddy Warrior Run!  Another great locally-run OCR in Minnesota is done and in the books!

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Steeplechase Challenge 2017

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Another weekend, another excellent locally-run OCR in the books for the great state of Minnesota!  This time, my adventures took me to the hilly Zumbro River valleys of Mazeppa at an event called the Steeplechase Challenge.

This is a new-comer to the local OCR scene, as this is only their second year of holding this weekend-long event.  The event focuses on the charity Toys For Tots and brings in donations for the local chapter.  There’s a 5K or 10K distance to choose from, with plenty of families and weekend warriors alike tackling the course either Saturday or Sunday.  Registration and festival area are within walking distance of the parking area, as everything is on-site.  Everything was clearly marked and easy to get through.

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Course / Venue:

The venue is hands-down one of the best in MN.  The family that runs this event owns about 170 acres of pristine Zumbro River Valley beauty at the Steeplechase Event Center (hence the race name), hills and all.  The site used to be an old ski resort and chair lifts are still standing to this day but not functional anymore.  This paves the way to some truly fantastic trails, mud, hills, single-track (even through what was dubbed ‘Rock Canyon’ where rock boulders had to be climbed over uphill) and… more mud & more hills.  Anytime you can do an OCR in Minnesota and get over 1200+ ft of elevation change in a 10K (watches varied, so I’m going with that number as an average) is a huge plus.  I’ll let some of the photos do the talking:

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Obstacles:

One of the standout obstacles was the addition of a 300-foot water slide, which everyone young to old enjoyed (some of them multiple times, I ran the 10K on Sunday and was told a woman on Saturday went up/down the slide 11 times!).  Some fun random ones: hitting a tractor tire 10x, hitting a junked car with a sledgehammer (seriously more fun than you’d think!), and a spear throw that was longer than a standard Spartan Race distance.  There were some challenging ones as well, with the signature challenge (other than the terrain) was the log carry up to a shorter but very steep climb towards the end of the 10K distance.  Talk about a quad burner!

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The obstacles themselves may not be as technically challenging as other races, but the terrain/venue/heavy carries back up the ‘Challenge’ claim in full.  It’s a great feeling to see both young and old, newcomers to veteran racers enjoying some of the best that MN has to offer when it comes to OCR racing.  See you again in 2018!

 

Photo Credit: Author