Mud on the Tires /// Ruckus Edition

Thought I’d take a second and share my recent experience in the Ruckus.  While I’ve done 5 & 10-K’s, half and full marathon’s, this was my very first obstacle race.

photo courtesy of


If I had to use one one word to describe the Ruckus it would be muddy! The days leading up to the race we had extreme rain storms which didn’t help AT ALL because everything between the obstacles, mud-related or not, was muddy too. It made the running portions in the grass very treacherous. I had expected there to be some sort of mud-pit obstacle, but what I didn’t expect was there to be 5+ mud-pit obstacles. In a row. Getting a “little” dirty was simply not an option.

Anyway I thought I’d share some tips for anyone who might want to participate in an obstacle course race:
1. Make sure your shoes are tied tight! Once they’re water logged with mud they weigh about 7lbs a piece and you don’t want your shoe to fall off mid race.
2. Gloves are a good idea but certainly not mandatory. I didn’t have them, I saw others who did. There wasn’t any obstacle in which I thought “gee this is killing my hands I wish I had gloves,” but had there been a different set of obstacles then perhaps I would’ve. It’s a crap shoot.
3. Don’t choose the last race heat of the day. My thinking was it’d be better on my husband and kids if I went later in the day. However the champions heat started before my heat finished (basically making it an impossibility for anyone in my heat to participate in it if we qualified) and by the last heat the queues before some obstacles were CRAZY long. I mean I stood at certain obstacles over 10 minutes waiting my turn behind people from previous heats who showed up and walked through the course. It negatively impacted my time and it killed my momentum. That was disappointing.
4. Bring a towel to sit on in your car. They had garden hoses you could use to knock some of the bigger mud chunks off yourself with,  which felt very Woodstock-y to me, but even that doesn’t clean you enough to go anywhere until you can get to a real shower.
5. Pants past the knees is a must. All that crawling in mud and sand would be tough on an exposed knee!
6. Wear old shoes. They get trashed in all the mud and there’s no avoiding it! There were donation spots set up all over the place so once you change into your post-race flip flops you can then give your old shoes away. Good stuff.


Aside from the multiple mud pits and slides, there were also 20′ high nets (shaped like giant tee-pees) to climb over, there were wooden walls with ropes to climb up one side and jump down the other, there were ropes with loops hanging over a giant mud pit and  you had to “swing” from rope to rope to get across, giant hay bales (5′ tall) to climb over, and various other walls and things to army crawl over, under and through – making it a total of 4 miles of obstacle challenges.

Overall I’d definitely do another obstacle course race. I was nervous as most participants appeared to be in teams and were helping one another through the obstacles and all I had was me, but it turned out ok. Nothing was so difficult that I couldn’t handle it on my own.  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” [Phil 4:13]

Let me know of you ever try or have done an obstacle race!  Would you do one again?  Is there a particular type besides the Ruckus you would recommend?

Run by faith,

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