MudMan Duluth

Posted at: 07/22/2013 1:57 PM
Updated at: 07/24/2013 10:45 PM
By: Laura Kennedy

Running a 5K or 10K can be tough, but try doing it while tackling obstacles and gallons of mud.

"You get to get dirty and have fun, and get a workout at the same time," said Ruby Hopp of Baxter.

That's what hundreds of competitors faced on Saturday. It's called MudMan Duluth, the first race of its kind in the Twin Ports. Runners had to climb cargo nets, swing across monkey bars, and dive into trenches of mud.

"Yeah, I had butterflies this morning but I did it," said Jeannie Vasel of Eau Claire.

Vasel says her small stature both helped and hindered her.

"We had to grab ropes and pull ourselves over. I didn't make it," she said. "But jumping over the little trip wires and going under barbed wire, that was easy. I'm little, so I could scooch right through."

Vasel's teammate Chris "Peach" Saari says the obstacles were a piece of cake compared to the constant inclines.

"It's kind of hard to train for running up and down something like this," Saari said. "You run through the muddy areas and your shoes are coated in mud and then you run through all of that dead grass. It's sticking to your shoes. My feet felt like bricks after awhile, just all that added weight."

Mud races like this one are growing in popularity all over the country. Carolyn Opsahl-Hopp thinks it's because the course offers a unique challenge.

"It's nice because if you're not an avid runner you can still do it," she said. "And it's nice to have the personal challenge of accomplishing those obstacles."

"I think people just want to see how strong they are, or how fit they actually think they are," Vasel said.

It also gives family and friends a chance to work together, and have a little fun too.

"It's like being a kid. You're going out and playing in the mud, climbing on ropes," Saari said. "They should have little tree forts that you have to climb through and it would be perfect."

With smiles all around, they're already making plans to jump in the mud again next year.