I didn’t have many expectations for this race. However, I’ve completed a fair amount of OCR’s so there were a few things that I thought I would expect to see. Hardcore Mudd Run is the most different OCR I’ve ever completed. Seriously, it was a strange experience. I guess I shouldn’t be as surprised since this is not exactly a well known race. Participants aren’t traveling from all over to attempt this race like they do for Spartan, Tough Mudder and BattleFrog (R.I.P.). This race was approximately a 2.5 hour drive for me, which is normally out of my travel limits. It was the “unknown” factor that drove me to this race. I could have found a gem or I could have found a dud. You’ll find out later exactly what I found.
I was surprised how tough the course was especially for a Sprint. The course was exactly three miles. It was full of hills, and I mean hills. It felt like I was at the Palmerton Super all over again, but just not as steep or long. The first half was a lot of up and down on the same incline. It got a little redundant, but it was tough. Since the sun was beating down on me the heat made this part uncomfortable. It was nice to get through this to get to the wooded terrain. Once I was in the woods I was able to cool down and didn’t mind all the ups and downs.
There wasn’t much mud in the Sprint course. The only muddy part was in the very beginning through the barbed wire crawl. It was very muddy and ended up caked all over my shoes and shirt for the whole race. With the exception of the ski blowers blowing a refreshing cold mist of water there was no water on this part of the course. I believe the Ultra and Extreme courses had a water obstacle or two mixed in throughout the course.
My biggest complaint about the course was the lack of direction. Multiple times I ended up off the course. Some parts were clearly labeled, but others weren’t indicated. At the beginning we were told by the emcee that they mowed the high grass areas that were a part of the course. This helped, but it was still very confusing. They need to do a better job of outlining the course.
The obstacles weren’t impressive. Per the course map the Sprint had 10 obstacles, but I don’t recall that many. I guess they considered the misting blowers an obstacle. I was told by a photographer on the course they wanted the landslide obstacle to be a slip and slide, but due to logistical issues it just couldn’t happen. So the landslide obstacle was just a stroll down the hill. So I’ll chalk it up to a whopping total of eight obstacles.
Even though there weren’t many obstacles, that doesn’t mean they were easy. Two obstacles in particular were extremely difficult. The first was a 12′ wall with a rope I had to climb up and over. I attempted this twice with no luck. There was no grip on the wall or rope. The wall before this one was maybe a 10′ wall, but had a footboard. Both these walls required a lot of teamwork. The second obstacle was an obstacle called Hands and Knees. It was a chain link fence that was nailed to the ground with railroad spikes that required me to crawl under it. The difficult part was that the fence was heavy and needed to be lifted by multiple people to get through. I was racing with a guy I met in the 11:30am wave so we agreed to wait until more people came along to help all of us get through this. We were able to do it, but it took eight of us total. If you didn’t have a team I have no idea how anyone could’ve completed this.
The hills were a quad killer! I’ve never been to the State College part of Pennsylvania so I didn’t know just how mountainous it was. This was some tough terrain, but would make for some great practice for a Spartan Race.
Overall, the Hardcore Mudd Run was extremely disorganized. There was no signage for bag check or registration. After spending some time looking for registration I went to the merchandise tent and asked them. Wouldn’t you know it the merchandise tent was also the registration tent. I got registered pretty quickly and got geared up for the race, but still couldn’t find the bag check. I asked another person about bag check and they gave me a look of confusion. So again I went back to the merchandise/registration tent and asked about bag check. Wouldn’t you know it again the bag check was at the merchandise/registration tent. If you’re following at home that meant the merchandise/registration/bag check were all at one tent. Very confusing and very disorganized. I should also mention I had to ask where the start line was. This was embarrassing.
Highlights of the Day
They had pizza at the finish line. Yes! Pizza! You can keep your bananas, protein shakes and FitAid. I’ll take pizza everyday at the finish line. They later ran out of this prior to everyone finishing. Those poor people.
The Army National Guard set up personal showers. These were real showers too with an actual shower head and pressurized water. This was great for rinsing off.
The SWAG was OK. The t-shirt design was pretty cool, but the dogtags I received at the finish line were pretty cheap and small. We also got a colored wristband that corresponded with our course. Red=Sprint, Blue=Ultra and Green=Extreme.
The guy I ran with also did the Extreme earlier in the day. He finished 2nd and won $75.00. The amount was supposed to be more, but they didn’t have enough people in the elite wave for the whole payout.
Speaking of not enough people the participant turnout was low. How low? The wave I was in had just 17 people. I’ve never been in a wave that small ever. It was disappointing to see. However there was a Tough Mudder in Pittsburgh and the CMC Race in Brooklyn so that could have played a role in the low turnout on Saturday.
Parking was $10.00 and the spectator fee was $20.00, but if you registered online it was $10.00.
Sierra Nevada provided free beer for finishers. It’s not a cheap beer either.
The post race festival area was pretty lame. They had a band there, but it was probably too hot for anyone to stand near the stage and listen to them.
Photos aren’t free, but will be made available to purchase. Unless I find a good one I won’t be buying one.
Hardcore Mudd Run offers award medals for individuals and teams. They have a largest team award, teamwork award, injury award and honor/valor award. After I crossed the finish line I asked the girl at the awards table if they handed out any of them and she said they handed out a lot of purple heart awards. I saw a ton of teamwork on the course, but didn’t see anyone getting a teamwork award. I’m still confused how these awards were determined.
I really wanted to like the Hardcore Mudd Run. However I can’t look past all the negatives to speak highly about this race. It was a tough event, but also very disorganized. They have the potential to be great since the venue is good, but they’ll need to make some adjustments to get to the next level or to get my attention next year. This is a race I probably wouldn’t do again.
My next OCR isn’t until September 24th, which is the Spartan Sprint at Citizens Bank Park. The final piece for my first Spartan Trifecta!