Muddy Princess – Atlanta – June 2, 2019


The Muddy Princess is a relatively new race in the OCR world. This race could fill the void for a female-centric race since Dirty Girl closed for business.

The lead up to the race was filled with workout suggestions, vendor promos, and race day info. The pre-race communication was second to none. There were also two different ways that you could sign up. There was a regular entry, which included a goody bag and a medal. VIP allowed you to get entry into a VIP area, multiple laps, and a t-shirt.

The race was held at the tried and true Georgia International Horse Park on June 2nd. This is the location for many an OCR (Spartan, Rugged Maniac, etc.). The festival area was about average with several food trucks, face painting,


The chute was standard fare, but also had an emcee who went through exercises so the corral could warm up. My group left in the 9 am corral and it was pretty crowded. This was an issue throughout the race. More on that later.

The actual race was a 5k with 18 obstacles. The premise is that a newbie and an experienced woman could participate and also have a good time. The Horse Park does allow for some flat land as well as some fun hills. There is a lot of tree cover, so it was mostly cool. I raced with my normal OCR crew. We all have at least 10 races under our belts and brought along two little girls who have also raced before. We all felt comfortable with completing this race.

 


The first obstacle was two mud pits. This was the first area of backup. People were jumping in and a lot of people were pushed over or down into the mud. The volunteer didn’t do much for crowd control.

 

After that, there were some standard obstacles: a balance beam, seesaw, net and crawls, a few wall climbs, a tire climb, and more mud! If you want mud, this is the race for you. There were a lot of familiar obstacles from other races. One was the rolling hills that Spartan uses. It was the same with the exception of the actual dunk wall. Fenced In (with netting over the mud pit versus bars) and Grey Rug from Rugged also made an appearance. The spacing between the obstacles was pretty good. There was an opportunity for there to be a few more before the finish line. There was a crossing with chain links that was difficult but fun. There were lots of encouraging signs also dotted throughout the course.


The volunteers really kept you going with a lot of encouragement and help. One interesting fact was that the reality show, “The 7 Little Johnstons” was shooting an episode. Elizabeth is a fast runner! She did a phenomenal job. The filming did make it a bit awkward at times as they had to film as well as participate. The participants largely ran around them or waited as they filmed. The film crew was never in the way. It did get a bit frustrating when a Muddy Princess volunteer coordinator body blocked me from using an obstacle and told me I had to wait five minutes so they could film. Needless to say, there were a few words back and forth.

It was nice to have friends and family at the last obstacle before you made it to the finish. The medal was standard and the goodie bag had some interesting items that varied from protein shakes to feminine products. The latter was new to me, lol!

I think that this race could have a bright future. From what I heard, this race is relatively new to the U.S. and they are testing the waters. I would do this race again given a few things:

  • Clear signs for the obstacles – either name the obstacle or obstacle number. There was a lot of confusion among the participants as to how many obstacles were on the course.
  • Clear mile markers.
  •  A more organized registration in the festival area. The VIP line was just as crowded as general. I actually finished my registration before the VIPs did.
  • The rinse off station was actually nice and had tall walls to change clothes, however, the water pressure was slow.
  • The price point was a bit high. I think offering both VIP and general entries by $10 would allow more people to possibly sign up.
  • Some of the staff had issues with interacting with the participants. I had two run-ins with one and I also heard of a few other people having a similar interaction with the same person. I hope this was just a one-off and not indicative of how the race is managed.

 

Could this be the next Dirty Girl? Yes, it could if some of the recommendations were implemented. The best part about female races is the comradery. You get the same in other OCRs but with women only it’s different. The volunteers and participants were amazing in how they supported each other with words, hugs, high fives, and a shoulder or leg if necessary. I would most certainly do this race again in a different location just to see if there are any differences.

Photo Credit:

Sean White

Great Inflatable Race

My inner 12 year old has been excited to run this race for a long time. Less than three miles on familiar terrain with a bunch of inflatables? I am so in. I decided to add my daughter, aka Smalls (aged 7) to join me. It is important to note that Smalls thinks she is the jam as she has several OCRs and 5ks under her belt.

Keep in mind that in my mind I am an elite OCR runner. In reality, a group of tipsy terrapins are faster than me.

The race was held at the Georgia International Horse Park on Saturday, Nov. 10th, 2018. The Horse Park is home to many Metro Atlanta OCRs. I know the terrain like the back of my hand. I finished the Spartan Sprint there a few weeks prior. I was interested to see if it followed the same routes as previous races.

Upon registration, I chose to have my packet mailed to me versus going to the designated pick up. Easy peasy, right? As the date of the race came closer, I received an email stating that some packets were not mailed and that we would have to pick them up at packet pick up. My daughter received her packet, but I did not. I emailed customer service and they told me to pick up the packet on race day.

Another email was sent saying that medals would not be at the race and would be sent after. Keep in mind that I race for medals. I am totally vapid when it comes to a few things when it comes to OCRs. Medals is one of them.

The pick-up tent was pretty easy. Got my shirt and was ready to go. I quickly reviewed the festival area and it was sparse. There were some vendors, but the inflatable village they promoted was not as big as I thought it would be as there was only one large inflatable.

The race corral started by climbing a tall slide that was a similar, yet smaller version of the one at Rugged Maniac. The course didn’t take us too far back into the woods. It literally outlined the festival area.

The overall course was pretty easy. I clocked 1.73 miles and 10 obstacles in 30 minutes. The obstacles were a bit wet due to the previous day’s rain. It did get a bit crowded. Some volunteers kept us spaced out and some didn’t. There were water stations mid-race and again at the finish.

 

This is how the race went according to Smalls:

  • “This is fun”
  • “Oooh. This is like a Spartan Race” – Oh honey. She doesn’t know.
  • “I am gonna do this again”
  • “Where do we go next? This is confusing”
  • “This was a good race. Kinda easy for me”

The end of the race offered no fanfare, medals, or anything.

My biggest issue with the race was how things were handled. We were told that we would get our medals on race day. Then it changed to picking them up at packet pick up. Then I was told that they would be sent via FedEx. I was also told that since my packet was never sent, I would be refunded the fee I paid to have it sent home. I probably spent more time following up than I did racing. Side note: I just received the medal today (Dec. 10th).

I will honestly say that back-office issues colored my experience quite a bit. However, I can see the race for what it was. It is a great way for all ages and abilities to start off with OCRs. The actual inflatables were quite fun. The distance was perfect. They took care to keep the course pretty flat. There were some minor hills, but nothing like they could have incorporated for that course. If you want to start your OCR experience, this could be a good one. I would say it is much easier than Warrior Dash and Rugged Combined. Just go into it as a good time and keep expectations low.

I am not sure if I would do this race again, but it was a fun race to end my 2018 OCR season.

 

Fun for the Entire Family: Kids Obstacle Challenge

This was my first foray into a child-centric OCR. I am used to attending OCRs with kids, but they were all adult courses. Kids Obstacle Challenge was going to be a good test of OCRs geared towards young children. The best part of the race is that a parent can run with each child for free! I’ve run relatively easy OCRs (Warrior Dash) and difficult ones (Spartan). I attended the event with three OCR newbies.

Location:

The event was held at Lake Lanier (Buford), GA. This is in Northeast Georgia. It is little over an hour from Metro Atlanta. This is the same location of the October 2017 Spartan Super/Sprint weekend. The course and the venue are absolutely beautiful. There are great views of the lake along with a challenging terrain. The course has steep hills as well as flat fields. I was a bit concerned as I struggled with those same hills during that weekend. I surely thought that we would be on the flat portion of the course. More on that later.

The weather was a perfect 77 degrees. The cloud cover and breeze from the lake made the whole event that much more fun for everyone.

Kids Obstacle Challenge got early kudos as there was free parking! That is relatively unheard of in OCR world. The parking lot was about an eighth of a mile from the starting line. It was an easy walk.

Registration/Festival:

We were late for our 11:30 am heat and I was not sure how it would be handled. The registration table was well staffed and went quite smoothly. We were promptly put into the noon heat with a smile and “good luck.” I attended the event with my partner as well as our kids, ages 10 and seven, respectively. They were excited to get on the course ASAP. One thing that I noticed that it was a pretty large area.

There was a large water station that was constantly being refilled with cold, fresh water. There were several vendors that sold everything from icees, freshly pressed juices, and Clif bars. The company also had a large information tent that was always staffed with volunteers. I did not see any food vendors, but it wasn’t an issue. The festival booths were pretty spread out. There were no chairs or tents available, but it did not matter.

One side of the festival had the obligatory sponsor backdrop for pictures. It was large enough for several people to take pics and not be squashed in. There was also a cute mural with a bunch of markers for people to write messages on.

The Starting Line was at the end of the festival area. We had a good warm up of squats and jumping jacks to get ready for the race. There was also a nice spray from a few super soakers to keep us cool. It was energetic and fun.

One thing I noticed here and throughout the course was the fact that the festival and course did not seem overcrowded. That was a huge plus when you are navigating with children.


 

Course and Obstacles:

This course was well designed and spread out. It consisted of 15 obstacles within two miles. And yes, we did experience some significant hills. Both kids had no problems with running up the hills as they went from obstacle to obstacle. I had flashbacks to the Spartan Super and took my time. Each obstacle was well manned with a volunteer, sometimes two. They were energetic and also helped kids over the obstacles. There was one water station on the course that provided plenty of water. There were inspirational messages peppered throughout the course to keep everyone energized.

These obstacles were relatively easy for an experienced runner. The obstacles were created with a kid in mind. The footholds and grips were sized for smaller children. That sizing me struggle a little, but not enough to not try the obstacle. This was my partner’s first OCR and he enjoyed it. He was able to maneuver easily.

My son (10) loved climbing the obstacles. He was able to finish each obstacle with minimal help. He excelled at the Clif climb and scurried across with no problem. My daughter (7) was a bit cautious but was able to try at least 12 obstacles. Her favorite was the ball pit because there was a fair amount of water. There were several obstacles that we were able to try several times before going to the next. The obstacles were challenging for kids, but not to the point where they couldn’t try them. The course did not seem like it was 2 miles and that was a good thing. The terrain kept it interesting and had a great flow.

 

As a mom, I appreciated that the mud was towards the end of the course. The kids asked throughout the course “Where is the mud?” “When are we getting muddy?” That made me a bit nervous because I was afraid it would have been mud city towards the end. They did get the mud that they asked for. The mud slide was a big hit for my son. Both kids loved the mud pit. It was a crawl through a fair amount of mud.

You can also gauge a race by their volunteers. The volunteers were encouraging and had fun with us. They also helped kids, and adults, on obstacles. We encountered two race photographers on the course and they made sure they got great shots of each family. They made the course that much more fun.

Merchandise

One difference with this race was that there wasn’t the obligatory t-shirt provided at the end of the race. They were sold in the merch tent. There wasn’t a lot of merchandise to purchase. The merch consisted of t-shirts, water bottles, and blackout for your face. At the finish line, the kids received their obligatory medal and banana. As a medal lover, I didn’t get one, which bummed me out a bit. I think it would be wrong if I stole the kid’s medal.

One difference was that you were able to “build” your own goodie bag. The kids got a vinyl backpack and load it with several items. They could choose a nut butter Clif bar, a Luna Bar, stickers, temporary tattoos, a race flyer and coupon for Razor products (the race sponsor).

Rinse off:

This is a bone of contention for me at most races. Either it is a few hoses with weak water pressure or in an area way off from the festival. The rinse-off section was not far from the finish line. It was off to the side and had over 10 hoses. All had great pressure and the area was never crowded.

Conclusion:

My family and I loved the race. The kids were challenged but also had a lot of fun. I think that Kids Obstacle Race is a good OCR for both newbies and experienced OCR runners alike. What makes this race attractive is the price point, the ability for parents to race for free, good obstacles/distance, and free parking. My only qualm is the lack of finisher t-shirts. But that is not enough for me to not run this again. I cannot wait to attend next year.