USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run

What a crazy ride I'm on...

Saturday morning I drove to Starbucks to meet my running partners.  This sounds pretty much like any other Saturday morning (even if I had said it was 5:00am) but this was something different.

We were heading to Columbia, SC, for the USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run!

The Mud Run is a 5-6 mile obstacle course put on by the Greater Columbia Marine Foundation.  Teams of four compete in several different categories and it is said to be the largest race of its kind in North America!




I had heard about horrible traffic getting to the race, but it was so clear we started thinking we were on the wrong road.  We were directed into a grass field to park without any problems.  Must be the new company they hired to direct traffic (nice job).

I looked around and was amazed at the amount of cars.  There were over two thousand teams of four running this race!

My team "SAY SOMETHING" decided to check things out before we dropped our bags.  We walked around and found the showers, food and port-a-lets.  Music was blaring and people were walking around completely covered in mud.  I was already getting pumped up.

We stood in line for a while to get out shirts and then walked to the check in area.

We checked in by handing in our waiver forms (much too short for a race like this - as stated by attorney Ninja Stuntman).  Then we walked into a tent and had our team number written on our arms and leg with a permanent maker (so cool).  Now I was seriously getting pumped up.

We were going to check our bags, but the volunteer said it was pretty backed up.  We decided to put everything back in the car and just check the car key.

The four of us made our way to the start and got in line with a few hundred people.  The volunteers were great and kept everything organized.  Teams got one bib and timing chip and then made their way to the starting line.

The music was right next to the start and finish so the energy level was off the charts as we waited for our start time (12:08:30).

A few of things before I get into the race.

First, the team - Cathy R, Annie P, Ninja Stuntman, and me.  If you have ever read my blog, you know these are my crazy running partners and the same team that ran with me at the Bull Dog Challenge earlier in the year.  They are by far the best running partners anyone could ever ask for!

Second, the team name - SAY SOMETHING! We named our team in honor of Chris Emde.  He is a bad ass Marine that has tried to kill all of us at one time or another at MUSC Boot Camp.  His favorite thing to yell is "SAY SOMETHING!".  He really is an amazing guy and we love running with him and hanging out with him.  What better name for our team could we come up with?

Third, the race - USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run.  How awesome is the name?  The course is at least five miles long with 32 obstacles and a bunch of Marines yelling stuff!



Fourth, the camera - Ninja Stuntman was wearing a video camera during the race!  I hope to add it to the site as soon as we edit it.

Finally, how does this race compare to other races?  Here are the other adventure races I have done that are kind of like this race in order of toughness:

Rugged Maniac - Wimpy!
Warrior Dash - Fun, crazy, but not even close to being as hard.
Bull Dog Challenge - Very different. Not as many obstacles, but the BDC is much harder.

Okay, back to the race.

As we snaked our way through the line to the start I was getting so jacked up.  I was a little nervous (normal for me at a race) and really wanted to get going.  We moved to the front and as the time hit 12:08:30 (exactly) we started!

After running for a while, climbing out of ditches and jumping over walls we made it to the first, of many, mud obstacles.  It was an over and under log obstacle in a mud pit.  I had to put my head completely under the mud to get under the first log - sweet!

We ran further and made it through some tunnels and then used a rope swing to get over a ditch (Ninja Stuntman went down hard, but in true Ninja style he jumped up like nothing had ever happened).

There were several 15' walls to climb and a 10' wall with no hand holds that we were able to work as a team to get over.  One of the things I am so proud of (and there are many) is that our team never took a penalty.  We made it through every obstacle!

There were more logs to jump over, double bars to climb and huge water pit to jump into (10' deep and 48' long).  There were up and down hill trails to run, hills to climb, monkey bars to swing from and an entire stream to wade through.

At about the midway point I hit my shin on a branch in one of the mud pits and thought I had broken my leg. The bottom of my leg was completely numb for about ten minutes.  It was covered in mud so I had no idea how it looked.  It was only until we hit the stream that I was able to see that it looked like crap, but there were no bones sticking out!

Right before the end of the race, we went through another mud pit and then had to fireman carry two of our teammates about a hundred yards.  I picked up Annie P and Ninja Stuntman picked up Cathy R.  As soon as we were able to put them down, we all sprinted the last hundred yards through the woods to the finish line.  It felt amazing to cross the line yelling, "SAY SOMETHING!!!"  

After we finished we took showers, changed clothes, ate some food, listened to music and hung out for a while.  I think we were all so pumped up we didn't want it to end.

Salomon XR Crossmax are the perfect shoes for a Mud Run
But its not the end, its just another stop on this crazy ride...













Checkout more pictures from the race at my Facebook Page:


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