The 8th Mad Anthony Mud Run took place on February 23, 2019 in Waynesboro, VA. I live just a short drive away from the race location, so the morning of the race my wife and I drove over to a parking lot nearby where bus transportation was provided to the venue (there was no "on site" parking for the event). Not long after, we arrived at the park where the race would be held.
I like getting to races at least an hour early. I've done more than enough races to have a routine down. When I first arrive I look around a bit at the event sponsors, talk to anyone I know, use the bathroom, and do some light dynamic stretching. We'd picked up our race bibs the day before the event, so we didn't need to get in any lines in the morning - makes it even more relaxing.
About forty minutes pre-race I started doing some very light jogging, some dynamic stretching, and a bit of walking around between those things. With 25 minutes left, I started jogging around in the grass, up a hill, finishing all of my dynamic stretching, and by the time that was all done it was time to line up at the start!
The race started with a countdown from 10 and a musket shot (seriously, a musket shot, it was awesome - sorry there is no audio in the video). As you can see in the video below, the front line made a DASH up the hill. The first obstacle was a path filled with tires that you had to run through (just like military obstacle courses often have). I normally pace myself right out of the start line and only push hard enough to stay far enough in front so that racers don't also become obstacles. That being said, I went pretty close to full throttle right away because I didn't want to get caught behind anyone in the tires. Right after the tires, I went into my favorite part of the race - Cruise mode.
I know how fast I can run and how long I can maintain certain paces. I'm not going to magically drop 5:30 miles for almost 5 miles when I can't do that at any other time. So I settle into a pace, and I start picking off racers. Right off the bat, I was in third place. Less than half a mile in, I was in second place. I trailed about 40ft behind first place for the next 2ish miles. Crawled through trenches, jumped over several walls, ducked under several others, ran through water in a tunnel under a highway, and finally caught up to first place.
I passed him on a trail and never let 1st place go through the rest of the race. It was a very muddy course! Not the muddiest I've ever done, but muddy none-the-less. Based on the course map, I try to decide pre-race what I call the "sprint zone". The "sprint zone" is the space at the end of the race where I am planning on giving every ounce of energy I have to finish out the race. The zone varies by event, distance, what obstacles are left, etc. and for this one it came with about a half mile left.
My so called "sprint zone" followed a crawl, hop, crawl, hop. It started up a short hill, over a wall, down a short trail in the woods, out into the field where there was another crawl, and then over three hay bails about 150 yards from the finish line.
I am not used to leading races. I'm used to trailing and pursuing. I like pursuing and putting the pressure on the person I'm chasing. However, once I was in first place, I had to remind myself not to let up at all. I don't like to lose any places - much less first place. It was a very different experience not knowing if someone was close behind, far beyond, or where they were!
Right after finishing, I went back out on the course (after getting the okay from event staff) to go catch up with my wife and finish her race with her! I caught up to her about 2ish miles in and we had a blast finishing the race together (even though it was very wet and cold at that point).
It was a fun experience (even though I froze while waiting for the award ceremony) and I would highly recommend that people come out and participate in the Mad Anthony Mud Run in 2020. I performed pretty well based on what I know about my current fitness levels. I'm really happy to have had the chance to participate! I also got to wear my new Suunto 9 watch (not a sponsor) and put it through it's first race. It's going to be awesome for post-race data this season.
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Joel Hayes (article Author) - @joelsphayes
Luke Hayes - @lukejshayes