Last Saturday partners in grime gathered for the REI Muddy Buddy Adventure Series as it made its stop at the Boulder Reservoir. Teams of two had the opportunity to run or leapfrog-style bike/run the course, both options ending with the signature 50-foot mud pit crawl that buddies must cross together. Mixed in the 4.5 mile course were obstacles designed for buddies to conquer together like: the cargo climb, reverse wall, water crossing, and slippery mountain. Part of the fun included seeing the variety and creativity of costumes buddies wore. And the best part of it all? I was invited to join in all of the dirty fun.
“We just want people to get out and do something outside. We wanted to make an atmosphere for people that want to be active but don’t want to feel intimidated”
Never having done anything like this before I was a bit nervous. I had heard of treacherously challenging runs like the Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash where participants face obstacles like running through electrically charged wires or ice water.
My nerves were calmed after speaking with Eric Beck, Event Coordinator, about what sets the Muddy Buddy apart from other mud runs: “The other races are definitely a more grueling type of race. Our race is more fun I suppose – like if you can’t do the obstacle we are not going to make you do burpees or push-ups or anything like that. We just want people to get out and do something outside. We wanted to make an atmosphere for people that want to be active but don’t want to feel intimidated.”
One of the major aspects of the Muddy Buddy is teamwork and bonding with your buddy. Sibling team, Mike and Meredith Benham, smiled and hi-fived when asked: How important is teamwork in your relationship? Even though Meredith is training for a triathlon, they agreed that they were doing the Muddy Buddy for sibling bonding reasons and not athletics.
After personally having my muddy buddy, Caiti McDaniel, give me a hand in an obstacle or words of encouragement – I truly began to understand just how important teamwork was to get through this course. The series slogan “Your weekend called – It wants its fun back” is definitely an accurate statement to encapsulate this experience. Do not get me wrong, while I did laugh and have a ton of fun with my buddy, it was certainly a challenge. Around mile-marker #3 I started picturing the margarita that was awaiting me in the beer garden as motivation to keep going. But nothing was sweeter than crossing that finish-line (mud in places where one should never get mud) hand in hand with one of my best friends.
The flow and sponsorship of this event was stellar. It was impossible not to smile with volunteers waiting at every obstacle yelling words of encouragement, and local 9News sports anchor Susie Wargin emceeing. Sponsor tents lined the grounds with their products, but the most popular spot was the Noodles & Company tent where they were handing out free bowls of macaroni and cheese (just in case you forgot to carb-load the night before the race).
While adults were busy channeling their inner child playing in the mud, actual kids (4-11) had the opportunity to participate in the Mini Muddy Buddy as well.
1:32:40.95 after passing “Go” (and a quick visit to the shower station) I finally got to sit down with my buddy and enjoy that margarita I had been picturing. Cold drink in hand, buddy by my side, mud caked in my ears, and a feeling of accomplishment that I would not trade for the world.