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Students brave the mud

The Tough Mudder marathon is one of the events Mills senior Jackie Narvaez participated this year. It is a combination of military style drils and obstacles. (Courtesy of Jackie Narvaez_

Crawling under barbed wire through muddy water, running uphill with the sun beating down, and climbing up a skating ramp with wet, muddy and slippery shoes was just some of the obstacles Mills senior Jackie Narvaez experienced while participating in the Northern California’s Tough Mudder this September.

The Tough Mudder was a 12 mile run with over 20 military style obstacles, ending in a nice cold beer.

Narvaez participated in the Tough Mudder with two other friends, spending months to prepare for the actual event.

“I slowly built up my cardio and in January I really stepped it up, I worked out two hours a day,” she said.

Narvaez said that the Tough Mudder was about “camaraderie and teamwork.”

“If you saw someone struggling you help them,” she said.

Narvaez said she found out about Tough Mudder on Facebook. She saw photos of a former Mills student who had participated in similar race type events.

Events like the Tough Mudder do not have the typical formate of a long distance race. There is a start and finish as is customary with all races, but what happens in between is what really gets people juiced to sign themselves up or rally a team together. These long distance runs are more like obstacle courses for adults.

Participants not only sign up for these races because of the obstacle courses or the high energy environment but  in an attempt to experience something new and to fulfill life changing events.

Senior Charlotte Reilly was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009 and had surgery to remove it.

“My illness could have been a lot worse…I knew that I would eventually be able to get back to my normal active life,” she said.

During this time she thought of all the things she wanted do.

“I thought of things like skydiving and becoming scuba certified, and running my first marathon,” she said.

She has completed three races, the Alcatraz Invitational (2012), Oakland Running Festival (2011), and the Labor Day Pier Swim in Oceanside, Ca (2010).

People said she was crazy for participating in the Alcatraz Invitational. Swimmers swam one mile and a quarter  from Alcatraz to San Francisco. Participants had the option of swimming with or without a wetsuit, Reilly decided not to. Reilly finished in one hour and nine minutes.

“It is a great accomplishment to complete it and to say I did it and without a wetsuit,” she said. “Things aren’t over with the brain tumor, which makes me want to do things while I can.”

She is currently training for the Turkey Run in Oceanside this November and event wants to do the Tough Mudder. She even got her boyfriend, Dennis Price, to jump on the bandwagon. He will be wearing a wetsuit.

When asked if Narvaez would do Tough Mudder again she said, “I’d do it again but first I want to explore other races”.

“I felt proud of myself, people who were more physically fit than me, I was doing better than them.” said Narvaez

Narvaez is now training for the Spartan Race this December.

The Original Mud Run is definitely something to check out if you are down to get dirty. This marathon has two groups of runners, both noncompetitive and competitive. Participants who are in the noncompetitive group have no attire requirement and may skip any obstacle.

Then there is the Trophy/Competitive Division. These participants are required to wear “boots and utes,” which mean combat boots and camouflage utility trousers or long pants.

Each participant must give each obstacle three attempts, then continue with the race. If a participant in the competitive race fails to complete an obstacle, he or she will be disqualified from the trophy prizes. If you sign up as a team, your team needs to finish together within no more than 15 seconds between the first and last person to cross.

The Original Mud Run provides participants with a description of the obstacles that they will most likely encounter  the website calls these their, “Skeletons in the Closet!” Obstacles runners will face balance beams, hanging log walk, leap of faith, and river crossing. They even give you tips on how to overcome some muddy obstacles.  This run gives participants the  opportunity of being extremely competitive if they feel up for
the challenge!

Another type of obstacle course is The 5k Foam fest. Its main attraction is its inflated slides filled with either water, foam, or mud. The 5k Foam Fest obstacles are similar to the ones you would see in the show Wipeout, but on a much smaller scale. Some of the obstacles are body washer, bottonless trench, bouncy ball attack, slip n’ climb, the sandy crawl, and tire hell. Of the prizes at The 5k Foam Fest, the most coveted is the MOJO Award, where the judges look for “something all around unique” ranging from team names to costumes.

The team that wins the MOJO award receives nothing more than bragging rights.

When registering for the 5k Foam Fest, you’re allowed to choose what time you’d like to begin the marathon, with each start time at 20 minute intervals.

Children are also able to participate in this race and are referred to as “Rugrats.” Even if you don’t want to physically participate in the Foam Fest, you can volunteer for the event. Volunteers receive  a free race T-shirt, a bag of  swag same  items participants get, and one free mud run entry.

The Color Run has no secret or tricky obstacles. The participants simply run or walk while getting showered with natural, safe colorful powder. Anyone of any age and physical ability are welcome to join. The Color Run has one rule, you must run in a white shirt or light colored shirt.

At the finish line, you are not only greeted by other participants, but by color! The finish line of the Color Run is described by the website to be the “best post-5k party on the Planet.”

Aspects of the Color Run might remind people of the celebration of Holi in India, which is the festival of colors celebrated in March to welcome the coming of Spring. Holi brings promises of bright summer days and plentiful harvest. Though the Color Run and Holi share no cultural meaning.

Different charities sponsor the Color Run, so a portion of the registration fees go to the charities. Ocean Lotus Hawaii, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County, Little Rock Parks and Rec, St. Anthony’s BayCare Health System, Banner Health, and Special Olympics Arizona are a few of the charities that are sponsoring Color Runs all over the United States.