Having run several MudManX races in the past, I was excited to see what they had in store for 2014. Holding this event at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ I was curious to see how they would incorporate the surrounding area into a mud run. Arriving at the venue I was pleased to see that this small local event attracted some of the areas top OCR racers such as Kevin Donohue, Roman Pinto, Stephen “Bowtie” Crawford, Kevin LaPlatney, Ron Zastocki, Dustin Bechtel, and James Grbac. Bib pick up was a breeze and we had more than enough time to make our way over to the starting corral.
Since this course was a 3.5 mile loop, the competitive wave was instructed to complete two laps before crossing the finish line. We were scheduled to start an hour before the first open wave, so there was more than enough time to give us a head start without worrying about running into later runners. The course terrain was immediately compared by some to the recent Mohegan Sun Spartan Race, since it was a mixture of pavement and dirt trails. The majority of the obstacles were ones that MudManX has used in previous events, with the combination of walls, cargo nets, and the addition to of a short sandbag carry and rope climb. I was personally glad to see the removal of the electroshock obstacle this year. None of the obstacles were particularly innovative, however without having the budget of some of the larger races, this was to be expected. In addition, MudManX discounts their entry fees heavily, offering social media discounts, with the average registration fee around $50 as compared to the $100+ you will pay for a Spartan Race. This coupled with lower participation rates and the lack of a major sponsorship, clearly gives MudManX a tighter budget to work with. However with all that being said, I feel they did an excellent job executing this event and considered all levels of athlete. The course was well thought out and well marked to keep you on track.
One of the most notable features to the competitive wave is the cash prizes for the top 3 male and female finishers. Notice I said the word cash- not a check you hope doesn’t bounce or the increasingly common IOU you will get from other races. Totaling $1,200 ($300 1st, $200 2nd, $100 3rd for each male/female winner) MudManX offer a purse worth paying attention too. I am touting this in hope that it continues to draw the attention of competitive racers and in turn hopefully cause the purse to grow and the success of this company. In addition MudMan offered age group awards, handing out medals to the top 3 in each.
Although I have focused this review on the competitive heat, MudManX is designed for those of all experience levels and is focused around giving everyone the same positive experience. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth OCR, if you are in the tri-state area, you owe it to yourself to make it out to one of MudManX’s events this year.