Running dirty

(photo by Flo-Foto)

Thirty seconds into the Dirty Dash and my shoe fell off, sucked into the mud on Big Pig Climb.

Three miles later and I clumsily ate it after a jump off the obstacle course wall, getting an impromptu mud wrestle by the male members of my team.

At mile four, we all pathetically tugged my brother’s arms, weak from belly laughs, while we tried to pull him out of swamp mud on the banks of Deer Creek Reservoir.

By mile six, I hurled my body down the massive Slop ‘n Slide, complete with a crash landing at the bottom with my female teammates.

And did I mention it was one of the most fun races I have run?

Utah’s inaugural mud run was a huge success. After selling out three times and adding an afternoon run, the Dirty Dash Saturday, Sept. 25 at Soldier Hollow totaled over 4,800 runners.

The 10k course, up and down Soldier Hollow’s cross-country ski hills, was a challenging run. And the obstacles were epic. After Big Pig Climb, the muddy hill at the starting gate being drenched with a sprinkler, there was a snow blower blasting runners, Hogbails hay to jump over, Razorback Alley tunnels, three sets of Pig Pen obstacle course walls, Hog Wallow tires to jump through, a Hog Wash where spectators pelted water balloons at runners, the Slop ‘n Slide into the finish, and, of course, a massive Pig Sty mud pit.

One of my favorite parts was the highly-anticipated “secret obstacle” – the Hog Bog. This was a run through various sections of the receding Deer Creek Reservoir. We had to wade through (or hurdle over) sections of it and dash (or slump) through a muddy field. It was natural, dark, stinky mud that reminded me of a trip to a swamp preserve in Georgia a few years ago. Race founder John Malfatto told me that he “was a little concerned people wouldn’t enjoy the secret obstacle…but turns out that it was a favorite.”

Malfatto (who was sporting a bright yellow “Grunt” shirt all the volunteers wore on race day – also his birthday) gave me his overall summary of the event.

“It was a great birthday present to see everything went off without a hitch,” he said. “We have many things that we need to do to improve the race. But, all in all, for a first year race to have nearly 5,000 participants and for everyone to be so muddy, we couldn’t be happier.”

Malfatto said Dirty Dash is looking into expanding into “one lucky market” next year. They already put on Idaho’s first mud run in Boise earlier this month, and a 5k mud run is planned in Utah in May. He teases with: “We may add a few surprises next May and September…”

In my opinion, Dirty Dash will go down as one of Utah’s top races.

Any fellow Dirty Dashers out there? What did you think of the mud run?

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