Mile 15: Event Day Experience – Merrell Down & Dirty

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As you can see The Running Dead’s participation picked up in 2014. This was the third event on our schedule. It was also a new event for us! How did we hear about it? Cait’s sister, Lauren, heard about this event so we all promptly signed up. I love hearing about races through friends! It’s even better when they aren’t runners and suggest you sign up.

This race was unique because we had the option of the three mile or six mile race. For the price we opted for the 6 mile race. There was one downfall to this choice. We had to race in the early morning. I think we raced at 8:30am. Since we raced early we decided to stay the night prior at a local hotel. In reality, the race was pretty close to us, but we didn’t want to wake up at 6:00am to get there in time. For those that chose the 3 mile race they raced later in the morning/early afternoon. We should have done the 3 mile race! 

The course was at Warminister Park, which was also a half abandoned air force base. Check in was extremely easy and we got suited up for our start time. By the way, there were a lot of vendors present too. Paul Mitchell, Subaru and Matchbox Cars just to name a few. I like when they have lots of vendors because you get a ton of free stuff. Anyone need a pen? The event sponsor was Merrell, who had a nice display of their racing shoes.

Side Note: Merrell is no longer the event sponsor of this race. They are now the event sponsor of the Tough Mudder.

There was a big secret to this race. This was the race that Keith proposed to Cait. This proved to be more difficult than originally thought. In order for this work Keith and I had to run ahead of Cait and Lauren. Now, we had to do this without giving away any suspicion. We also had to stay ahead of them throughout the entire race for everything to work.

My girlfriend was also present at this event. No, she wasn’t running. She was in charge of the ring and getting photos at the finish line of the proposal. Additionally Cait’s friends, Megan and Tori, were going to show up too. It was going to be a nice surprise for Cait.

The race started off cloudy, but the sun soon came out and the temperature got pretty warm. We were racing in late July, which is the height of hot and humid temperatures in Pennsylvania. Since we were pretty determined we didn’t waste much time on the obstacles and did more running than jogging.

The obstacles weren’t difficult, but the six miles seemed long. They had barbed wire crawls, tunnels, walls, mud pits, monkey bars and etc. It was pretty much your standard novice level OCR. They did have a push up obstacle, which I was not a fan of. I did my 20 and moved along. Keith completed those with no issues. It must be nice to be the muscle man! We kept up a pretty good pace and there were no lines at the obstacles we came across. 

Side Note: you can wear a backpack full of bricks to make the race more difficult. I passed on that option.

As we got closer to the finish line the obstacles became more frequent. They had this one cool one called Slippery Mountain. We used a rope to climb to the top, but the surface base is covered in dish soap. Someone’s face could definitely be rearranged on that. Luckily, mine stayed intact! There was also another obstacle similar to the Spartan Sprint. Can you guess what it is? If you guessed the sandbag carry you’re correct. It wasn’t as hard since there was no steep incline. Those were the two highlight obstacles of our day.

A common occurrence keeps happening at these events. Mud pits are always the last obstacle. They usually always follow the last water obstacle too. I prefer to be relatively clean when crossing the finish line. It makes is easier at the rinse off station to get rid of all the mud. To be honest, I’m really lazy and after these races the last thing I want to do is spend 15 or 20 minutes rinsing off. Yes, this had a mud pit we had to cross to get to the finish line. We went through the mud and crossed the line. Instead of rinsing off immediately after, we had to wait for Cait and Lauren to finish. Since it was so hot the mud dried to our clothes and skin pretty past. It made for some good pictures!

Finally, we saw Cait and Lauren approach and Keith prepared for the proposal. As she crossed the line, Keith got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes! Cait was so happy she cried. I’m still not sure if she cried because she said yes or cried because she was so exhausted and just wanted to rinse off. Apparently, Cait knew the proposal was coming, but I don’t buy it! 


Side Note: marriage proposals are frequent at these events especially at the finish line. Not counting Keith and Cait’s, I’ve seen two other couples get engaged. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see one at your race.

We all enjoyed this race, but not enough to register again. I felt this was more of a race we didn’t need to do every year. It was challenging, but the price is too high to register for each year. If I do run in this event again I’ll opt for the three mile course. At least we got some pretty nice swag such as: a medal, t-shirt and headband.

In the next mile I’ll talk about my first solo OCR experience at the Savage Race.

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