Obstacle course race on Sunday is March "mudness"

The 3-mile walk/run is a dirty dash

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



March Muddy Madness

What: A 3-mile walk/run obstacle course in the mud for adults and a free Mini-Madness short run for the kids.

Where: West of Lakeshore Avenue at the end of McCann Road in Felida. See website for directions.

When: 8:30 a.m. to noon or later Sunday, March 11.

Cost: $30 for adults, kids 16 or younger free with paying adult.

Info: Northwest Personal Training.

photoAlex Mench, 31, of Tigard, leaves some blood on the course after getting tangled up with blackberry bushes at the end of last year’s March Muddy Madness race. The race puts runners through a cross-country course filled with mud, both natural and man-made obstacles and blackberry bushes on a farm in Felida.

(/The Columbian)

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If mud were a commodity, the Pacific Northwest would easily be one of the richest spots on the planet.

Clark County fitness enthusiasts are glad it’s not, though, because that means there’s more glorious mud for them to slip, slide and slosh their way through this Sunday.

“Just because we’re in the Northwest and it rains a lot, people don’t want to go out and do things,” said Sherri McMillan, owner of Northwest Personal Training in Vancouver and Portland. “But we think you should embrace the mud. Enjoy it.”

This weekend the company will host its third annual March Muddy Madness in Felida. The event, which is open to the public, includes a 3-mile mud-saturated obstacle course for adults and a smaller, 1-mile mud run for the kids.

Mud’s not anything to be afraid of -- after all, it can be pretty darned fun, said Tiffany Taylor, who’s participated in the event for the past two years.

“I like that this is a noncompetitive, family-oriented event, but the mud is definitely a plus,” Taylor said. “You can bring the kids, and they set everything up so the kids’ race starts after the adult one so everybody can enjoy it.”

Still, newcomers should know to come prepared with towels, a change of clothing and protection for the car, said Garth Ullakko, who also participated in the past two races.

“I like that there’s all sorts of obstacles to go through and it’s a good chance to get muddy, which isn’t something that happens a lot as an adult,” Ullakko said. “People should know to dress warm, but also know that everything is going to get dirty and wet.”

Northwest Personal Training sets up the obstacles in a private field. Participants climb over walls, crawl under bars, wiggle through plastic tubes and maneuver their way through several other features in the mud-slicked environment.

“They do a great job of making the course so it works for all skill levels,” said Trevor Bryant, who’s participated in the event since the beginning. “It’s something I do, but it’s also something I’d invite my mom, who’s in her mid-60s, to do.”

The event can lead to minor injuries sometimes. Taylor said she got a little scraped up last year after a run-in with some blackberry bushes.

“It’s not that bad, but there can be a little blood,” Taylor said. “You also definitely want to make sure you’re wearing shorts that will stay on. When you get muddy and wet you don’t know what might happen.”

The company provides minor first aid and offers refreshments, McMillan said.

And what happens if things get truly bizarre out there and there is no rain or mud? Don’t worry, the organizers can always make more mud, she said.

“One year, we had that problem, actually, where it was really dry,” McMillan said. “We made some mud in some spots that year, but it wasn’t enough. Now we’re ready. We have equipment to make even more mud if we need it.”

Organizers will provide event instructions at 8:30 a.m., with the adults’ race starting at 9 a.m. People can show up and pay dues at the field, but McMillan said she encourages participants to register early if possible at Northwest Personal Training.