Marathon masters and running rookies alike have gone wild for mud runs. A hybrid of Marines training and adventure racing, the multi-mile events mix running and military-style obstacles such as wooden walls, water crossings, and mud pits to challenge competitors. These grimy races have exploded in popularity—hundreds of competitions are scheduled in 2011, and there’s still time to sign up for one near you. Here’s a guide to popular mud runs across the country.
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The first mud races took place in Europe, with Britain’s Grim Challenge and Germany’s Strongman Run (Search: what is a strongman run?), before they trickled across the pond to the United States. The Columbia Muddy Buddy Ride and Run Series, created in 1999, was one of the first of its kind to be held stateside. Now in its 12th year, the race has seen more than 130,000 participants slither through its course. Other start-ups followed, and today hundreds of runs are held year-round from California to Vermont.
According to Mud Run Central (mudruncentral.com), nearly 300 mud runs will take place during 2011. By year’s end, the state of Florida alone will have hosted 32 events. These mucky runs became popular because they tap into the action sports realm by combining a slew of endurance disciplines, making them appealing to everyone from 5-K runners to college fraternity boys to stay-at-home moms. (Don't think you're a mud run kind of mom? Try these slim-down strategies instead.)
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