(Most of these pictures are not mine. We kept our camera safely tucked into the truck during the race. Huge thanks to all of those who were brave enough to take their cameras out onto the course and willing to share on facebook.)
Welcome, ladies and gents, to the James family’s race report of Utah’s first annual Dirty Dash.
(This is totally not our van – I just had to include it for its sheer awesomeness.)
After a quick primary program practice in the morning, the Jameses rush up to Soldier Hollow, arriving in plenty of time to witness the final runners of the morning race slogging through the mud and shivering through the showers. It looks like some good old-fashioned filthy fun!
First up is the Piglet Plunge, a half mile fun run for the kids. After posing for a “before” picture, Emma and Joshua line up at the starting arch. The countdown begins, the piglets squeal, and they’re off. They race up and down the mud hill, Emma loses a shoe, Joshua leaves her in the dust…er, muck, they head up to the “Slop N Slide,” and Josh crosses the mud pit/finish line a full five minutes before Emma, who has by now taken off both of her shoes. Sarah, Jakob, and Elisabeth cheer them on at the finish line. Elisabeth wonders why she wasn’t allowed to participate.
How do you get piglets clean? With a fire hose, of course!
With the Piglet Plunge successfully conquered and the piglets safely tucked into the suburban for the ride home, Sarah and Jennifer are left on their own to prepare for the 10k. They eat some pre-race food (bagels and bananas – they are taking this very seriously) and then settle in between a group of totally chill bearded guys in dreadlocks and a Go-Girl booth (you must go to that link – it won’t disappoint) to spend the next two hours PEOPLE WATCHING! And oink,oink, snort, there are some awesome people-watching opportunities in a mud race. Jennifer and Sarah enjoy all of the very interesting usage of body paint. They also see lots of very hairy men wearing various forms of tights and skirts. Hopefully they’ve remembered their undies. Oops – no, not all of them have. Jennifer and Sarah take note of which men not to run behind.
With just five minutes to go, Jennifer and Sarah head for the starting line. They see groups of people stretching. They wonder if they should join them, but decide against it. They do, however, tighten the laces on the shoes. The countdown begins, and the runners are off! They sprint onto the mud hill, only to discover that this is no ordinary mud. It is clay. Sloppy, slippery, sticky clay. Which immediately claims one of Jennifer’s shoes. After a trip to the side of the hill to retie her shoe really, really tightly, Jennifer is off again. Sarah is glaring at her from the top of the hill.
Now solidly in last place (how did no one else lose a shoe in that muck?), Jennifer and Sarah continue the mile-long run uphill, passing just enough people to not be totally embarrassed by their standing in the race. After what seems like forever, they reach the “Hurricane,” one of Soldier Hollow’s snow machines blowing icy water into the crowd. It feels soooo good.
Finally, it is time for the first downhill, complete with six giant hay bales to jump over. Jennifer will spend the rest of the race pulling bits of hay out of her clothes.
Hay bales conquered, the two fine swine move on to the Razorback Alley tunnels, which are muddy, dark, and HOT. Thankfully, there are only two to crawl through.
Jennifer and Sarah continue to race uphill and downhill, uphill and downhill, on what is commonly known as Utah’s toughest 10k course. And that’s without the mud. Jennifer thinks she should have trained on more hills. Sarah thinks she should have trained more, period. A year away from the track team has taken it’s toll on the young one.
The ladies climb another hill, and things are about to get very muddy. They have arrived at the Pig Pen, which at this point in the day is knee deep in mud. They slog through to the first fence and climb over it easily enough, slopping thigh-high into mud on their way down. The second fence is even deeper in mud, and there are crazy people with fire hoses spraying the hogs down as they leap over the fence. Now they are swimming in mud. They arrive at the third fence, which has somehow remained standing despite being in an impossible amount of mud. It is Not. Easy. to climb over. Sarah and Jennifer are now feeling much cooler. But they may never be clean again.
(No, her neck wasn’t really broken. And this picture was clearly taken during the morning race. It was waaay muddier in the afternoon.)
Next up, the Hog Wallow. Tire runs are not as easy as they look. ‘Nuff said.
Having conquered the Hog Wallow, Sarah and Jennifer race on past the horse stables and giant piles of manure. They are surprised that the manure wasn’t used to create an obstacle. Later on, they realize that it may have been.
After another mile or so of running, the ladies are treated to a spectacular view of Deer Creek, and a spectacularly slimy ditch o’mud. It is not easy to climb out of.
They race on to the Secret Obstacle – a giant black mud bog the likes of which has never before been seen. They see a man? woman? person being led out of the bog, completely blinded by black, stinky goo. “Don’t get it in your eyes!” he/she/it warns. They wonder why others are crawling through the bog. This is a race, after all. Then Jennifer hits a sink hole and swiftly sinks up to her thighs. Luckily, Jennifer has ridiculously long legs. A normally proportioned person would never have survived that hole. Sarah and Jennifer encounter several more sink holes, and end up crawling across the bog. Oddly enough, Jennifer cannot find any pictures of this obstacle. She guesses that any camera pulled out in that sludge would never have survived.
They emerge from the oily black bog of death with a new understanding of how dinosaurs died in tar pits and muddy black hand prints on their ..ahem.. chests (don’t ask), and run on to the next ditch of sludge. They are now becoming sloppily savvy and emerge from it relatively unscathed. They begin jogging through a rare level stretch, where Sarah is complaining of a side ache. A very mucky male overhears Jennifer trying to cheer her up, and gives Sarah a giant sloppy bear hug. Then he gives Jennifer a giant sloppy bear hug. The ladies have no idea how cute he is, or how old he is, as he is completely covered in mud. But he does succeed in perking Sarah up.
With less than a mile to go, Jennifer and Sarah embark on their final uphill climb. It is long. And steep. No one is even attempting to run it. This is good news for Sarah and Jennifer.
And now it’s time for the Slop ‘n Slide – the world’s largest inflatable slide! The ladies run and Superman-dive onto the slide. Unfortunately, they aren’t heavy enough to slide all the way to the bottom, so they run and jump again, and again, and again. Each time they stand up to run, they are hosed down with a fire hose. It is 100 yards (just guessin’) of bouncy, slippery, icy awesomeness!
With the Slop ‘n Slide behind them, the finish line is in sight! They race down the hill and leap into the final pit, where they throw mud at each other to ensure that even their hair will never be clean. This mud pit looks dirty, but it’s nothing compared to the giant mud bog o’ death they’ve already been through. At least this pit has a recognizable bottom.
One final slide down a very slimy mud hill, and they are FINISHED!
They smile for the paparazzi, and head for the truck to document their final results. Sarah doesn’t tell Jennifer that she’s standing in the sun. This may be a good thing.
Can you tell Sarah’s been practicing this pose?
Pictures taken, the perky piggies head for the showers, which….suddenly make the mud bog seem easy. How, how, HOW is the water that COLD? Ice isn’t that cold! Nancy Perlosi isn’t that cold!! The ice planet of Hoth suddenly seems like a tropical paradise. Jennifer and Sarah rinse off as well as they can before hypothermia sets in, and then they splash to the truck, where they will be shivering and cranking the heater all the way home. Sarah strips down to her bra and panties before getting into the truck. Jennifer does not approve, but she understands. Especially when she sees an entire group of people emerging from the venue stripped down to their skivvies. Apparently modesty is not required in a mud run.
And there you have it folks – the story of Jennifer and Sarah’s first 10k obstacle course. Sensational sloppy fun. Sarah may have been the cutest contestant, and Jennifer may have been the oldest, but just guess which one never wants to relive that level of filthiness, and which one is rarin’ to go again.
Tune in next year as Jennifer suckers Emma into running with her…
PS – Daniel is doing really well. He should only be a total cripple for another month or so. 🙂