Looking to get out and do something different this fall? Here’s a list of eight mud-soaked, fun-filled, free-beer-promising adventure races in Central Florida through the end of this year. They all have a few things in common: free shirts, free beer, a completion medal and lots of mud.
Some are longer and have more obstacles, but they all follow a pretty similar formula. And they’re a lot of fun and a good workout. Don’t worry about being in tip-top shape either. Other than the competitive heats in the morning, racers of all shapes, sizes and ages compete in these. For most people, it’s all in fun – there are costumes, teams and plenty of goofing around.
Aug. 18 – Jacksonville – FL.ROC Running Obstacle Challenge
This run, benefiting “26.2 with Donna,” a breast cancer charity, promises over 30 obstacles on a 3.5-mile course. It’s being held at a horse farm (Diamond D Boarding and Stables), so you can bet they’ll have the stinkiest mud around. Their website gives the full obstacle list, and I’d be particularly interested in finding out what the “Triple By-pass Water Trudge” is. Sounds cool. Admission is $75 now, or $85 on race day.
Sept. 8 – Fort Meade – Dirty Foot Adventure Run
Dirty Foot shoots for “big air” and “bigger mud.” I’m pretty sure mud can’t be “bigger” (maybe “more mud” would have been better), but big air sounds fun. Many adventure races have some sort of platform jump, but this one looks pretty high. They’ve also got an obstacle called the “watermelon crawl.” The description:
“Time to get on your hands and knees for 50′+ while crossing over crushed watermelons in the dark.”
Really, that’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Admission is $60 before Aug. 17, $65 until Sept. 5. No race-day signup.
Sept. 29 – Gainesville – Gator Gauntlet
A shorter run (only 5K), but with lots of clay and mud. In fact, mud seems to be the main selling point here. That, and unlimited free beer.
There’s also a 150′ water slide with open slide time in the afternoon (probably after the beer). Admission is $84 now, but it’ll go up to $125 by race day (plus an insurance fee and processing fee – wow).
Oct. 6 – Lakeland – Backwoods Challenge
Another short one (5K) with only 15 obstacles, but this one is in a pretty cool location. While many of these adventure races take place on motocross tracks or cow fields, this one is on property bordering the National Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve, so you’ve got great scenery.
They’re still building the course, so no specifics yet. Admission is $50.
Oct. 6 – Brooksville – Mud Endeavor
I may have to go to this, just to change my perceptions about Brooksville. For me, Brooksville has always been a place you drive through, not to, and in the process you collect 20 pounds of bug guts on your front bumper. But I digress.
This race sounds a lot like the backwoods challenge – same distance, same amount of obstacles. It borders the Withlacoochee State Forest. From their photos, this seems to be a pretty family-friendly race. And for those in the Tampa-St. Pete, this is less than an hour away. Admission is $60 until Sept. 1, but then jumps to $70.
Oct. 13 – Alachua (near Gainesville) – Swamp Dash
A little longer (4 miles) and a few more obstacles (20), but it’s centrally located. Easily accessible from Gainesville, Jacksonville and both coasts. The Gators play Vanderbilt later in the day, so head to Gainesville after the race and watch with everyone else.
Use coupon code “fear” for $10 off admission. They make the admission price extremely difficult to find (you have to sign up, sign waivers, provide all your contact info just to see the price), so it’s probably expensive.
Nov. 3 – Brooksville – Baddest Mudder
Another Brooksville 5K with lots of obstacles. Prizes for the fastest men and women. The draw here, other than their late-90s website, is a free mud pit for kids. If you’re going to get muddy, they should too. Admission is $55, but only for adults.
Dec. 8 – Jacksonville – Mud Crusade
This one is interesting. Jacksonville in December isn’t always cold, but it can be. The average high in December is 67 degrees, so there’s a good chance that this will be a chilly one. And, I’m guessing, there’s a big difference between jumping in mud in the summer and jumping in mud in the winter.
This race is a 5K. Admission is $50, but it goes up to $70 by race day. With the coupon code “B1G1,” you can get buy-one-get-one pricing.