|Mud Endeavor - Little Manatee|
Mud Endeavor Little Manatee Run
By Guest Writer: Danielle Kissel
Hi All! I’m Danielle, Krissie’s cousin – a former cross country and track runner, turned OCR addict. This past weekend I had the privilege of participating in the Mud Endeavor’s Little Manatee River Run. This race series has always held a special place in my heart. The Mud Endeavor’s Under the Lights 2015 race was the first OCR I’ve ever run, and since then, I’ve been hooked! I’m in love with this sport and the competitive yet team-building vibe it brings to the running world. Seeing how helpful people become whenever you can’t scale and obstacle is one of the most pleasurable aspects of this sport.
So, the Little Manatee River Run… let me just tell you, this may be a little local race, but this “little local race” is NO JOKE! This was my first time participating in their Little Manatee River location and I can honestly say that this race was unlike any other Mud Endeavor I’ve run in the past.
Rather than place a heavy emphasis on man-made obstacles, the race made full use of the natural landscaping of the location. We were continuously up and down, weaving in and out of the Little Manatee River… we even ended our race with a swim across the lake! There were still the usual walls to scale, ropes to climb, and rings to swing across, but the use of water throughout this race threw a complete twist that left my legs aching for days. I remember swimming across the river into the finish line and looking at the guy next to me and saying, “I didn’t know I signed up for a triathlon!”
We raced on a somewhat overcast day, which made for great weather. I was a bit displeased at first when I saw that the start of our run began with us running into the water, but we were in and out of the water so much, that you never really experienced a temperature change chill, or even had time to think about how weighed down your shoes were becoming.
The start of the run was just a muddy, murky mess of water. At the start of the gun, and after the race MC repeatedly reminding us to make sure our shoes were tied reeeeally well, we crawled through about 100 yards of murky mud water. The water was the consistency that your shoes begin to get suctioned into the water so much that you just have to do a sort of doggy paddle crawl across the river. My favorite memory from this part of the race was someone to the side of me yelling, “I feel like a manatee!!!” At that point, I thought, “Why yes, I do actually feel like a manatee”. Prior to this run I had never given much thought towards manatees, but now I actually can understand quite well how they must feel.
After our muddy start, we weaved in and out of the woods for a while. We encounter some over-under obstacles and then commenced towards running over some hills and dropping down into the Little Manatee River to run through some water. I’m not going to lie, the first time I dropped down into the river, I thought I saw an alligator. I immediately relieved myself that it was just a log, but just that’s the type of running we were doing – straight up, in the river, just you and nature. It was pretty cool! Just a heads up though, when you do this race, be sure to watch out for tree stumps! I nearly wiped out on a few stumps that were hidden underneath the water.
While the first half of the race relied entirely on weaving in and out of the Little Manatee River, over the remaining half we were left with dry land obstacles. All of these were your typical wall climb, rope climb, heavy item carry, and so on. Everything was challenging, but very do-able, which makes this a race I’d recommend to any first-timer. The volunteers were very helpful in offering up advice as per how to conquer an obstacle whenever it was needed.
The final portion of the race is the only area of caution I throw out. If you can’t swim, start learning, because the end of this race was a swim across the lake. I grew up as a competitive swimmer so this aspect was not too big of a deal for me – the thing that threw me off was getting out of the lake. Climbing out we had to overcome a sort of backwards-inclined slip-n-slide. This was challenging. I slid down that board several times before finally figuring out how to anchor in my shoes just right to climb my way up. It was definitely a challenge that left you feeling accomplished at the end!
Overall, I had a blast at the Mud Endeavor Little Manatee River Run! This was a truly unique run that you’ll never experience elsewhere. And for any of you die-hard mud runners who don’t want to do the Mud Endeavor because they’ve never offered up stickers for your buckets, well guess what! They have stickers now!!! I was so happy when I opened up my race packet to find a Mud Endeavor sticker! I can finally advertise one of my favorite races on my bucket for everyone to see!!!