This 5K makes all other 5K's look boring, dull and surely out of touch with what it means to get up early on a Saturday morning and run 3 miles. The Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run is a national series of 5K events held throughout the country aimed to raise money and awareness for Operation Gratitude. Here's some highlights from the event, aimed at giving 5K goers a good preview of what to expect if you're thinking about doing this.
REGISTRATION: It's pricey. It'll run you about $60 to register, plus an online charge fee, plus parking to the event. This, I would say, is the only downside to the event. But given this amount, you're REALLY taken care of.
WHAT YOU GET: Forget the cheap white screen tee you get with a bag of useless paper full of ads from sponsors. This event will get you a sweet, decent orange jersey that you could wear for or after the event. You'll also get some shampoo for your hair (Paul Mitchell) for after the mess is over. All in all, a clean SWAG deal - nothing annoying and unnecessary, and the quality of the shirt helps ease the price of registration.
DAY OF: I was kind of disappointed that you had to pay for parking to the event. $11. Yeah, but next time, I'll make sure to plan to make a day out of it at Castaic Lake. It's a beautiful place, and it's something that I would want to hang out after the run instead of go home right after I finish. The crowd is diverse, energetic, and both young and old. There are pre-race snacks like oranges, juice, etc. That was great. Having a banana right before your race seriously is icing on the cake, and makes things very enjoyable. The snacks of the event again, help with the registration.
EXPO: Most of the time, the expo at 5Ks are booths of nutrition products and services trying to hustle you after your run. But this time around, the expo was pretty legit. There was a booth to take your photo to post on Twitter and Facebook, along with cool stuff to pick up at Subaru's tent (main sponsor.) All in all, it felt like a very fun atmosphere...
THE TRACK: Here is where you will be glad you did it. The track is so much fun, up and down hills and covered with obstacles to get your adrenaline going. If you were expecting just another 5K run to start you Sunday morning, you'll be blown away. And of course, MUD. After the first hill where you climb up slippery mud water, you're well into the mood of getting even dirtier and making it all worth the mess.
POST RACE: BURGERS! What 5K actually feeds you after the race?! Woah! A legit BBQ awaits you after your mud run, complete with soda, chips, and burgers. Sure this might not be a big deal, but when you just ran 3 miles up a dusty hill and got your favorite running shorts soaked in mud sweat, a post race meal sounds mighty sweet. Seriously, this was my first time at this event -- and the value just kept getting better and better.
It gets kind of awkward near the "showers" where you clean up after the race. It's co-ed, and it's not really showers. It's pretty much garden hoses that people share to hose each other off. Probably not the best thing of the entire event, but seriously -- it's so much fun and everybody is having a good time, that by then it doesn't event matter.
All in all, great event!!
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