Six or 10 kms, 18-plus obstacles, a 10,000 watt after-party and a whole lot of slimy mud is what Mud Hero is all about.
In it’s fifth year now in Red Deer, Mud Hero will be held Aug. 12th and 13th at Canyon Ski Resort to suit the tastes of a wide variety of runners.
“We have three different versions of the Mud Hero course. We’ve got the Mud Hero 6k, which is our most popular one, and then we’ve got what we call the Mud Hero Ultra 10k, which obviously is 10 kilometres, and those are for people who want a little bit of extra challenge,” said Ted McLeod, president and one of the co-founders of Mud Hero, adding that the obstacles are more challenging for the Ultra.
Their will also be a 500m kids course that kids ages four- to 12-years-old can do as many times as they like.
It too will have different sized obstacles for them to transition up to.
“Obviously the four-year-olds would have a little bit of trouble getting over a 4-foot wall whereas a 12-year-old can, but that’s a pretty good challenge for them,” said McLeod.
The first Mud Hero event was held in July of 2012 in the Canmore area, and McLeod, along with fellow co-founder and CEO Adam Ruppel only expected a couple of thousand people to show up, but much to their surprise they had over 5,000 for that week.
Both with a history in running events, the two men thought they would make Mud Hero appeal to a wide audience with a broad range of obstacles and easy to hard sections of the race.
“Let’s be honest, not everyone is in the gym 16 hours a week,” said McLeod.
Their first number of events were six kilometres.
“We always aim to have at least 16 obstacles and we change them up every year, and that way people who are returning don’t feel like they’re just doing the same course that they did three years ago, and then two years ago and then one year ago.”
McLeod said they will probably have 10,000 participants this year, about the same as last year’s event.
“It’s brought a lot of people to Red Deer, and I’ve heard from Tourism Red Deer multiple times that thanks to the Mud Hero event, most of the hotel rooms are booked and you can always see muddy people walking around downtown at restaurants and shops and things like that.”
With a wide variety of obstacles, sized accordingly, there’s something for everybody’s skill set.
A few include the 15-ft. ‘Kong’.
“You climb up one side of Kong and then we’ve got a cargo net suspended in between, which provides a lot of fun, and then you climb down the other side.”
There is also something called Hamburger Hill, which consists of a muddy uphill run.
“That’s the advantage of Canyon is that there are a lot of places where you can have a little bit of (incline).”
There is also Mud Hero’s famous mud slide, an all-time favourite where people climb up one side and slide down the other.
And McLeod said there wouldn’t be Mud Hero if they didn’t have as many mud pits as they possibly can.
“We always make sure that everyone ends on a muddy note. Our final mud pits are always our largest so that way everyone comes across the line muddy as heck.”
He said a lot of people use Mud Hero as a fitness goal, setting it up as part of their resolution come the New Year.
“The other thing a lot of people do is they use it as a little bit of a fear conquering thing,” he said.
McLeod said the Mud Hero in Red Deer actually only sees 20% from the Red Deer region, as a lot of people come to the City from other parts of the province – and even as far away as B.C.
Mud Hero also takes place in five other stops including Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg and Toronto.
Registration for Red Deer’s Mud Hero is open until Friday, Aug. 11th at 11:59 p.m. for the Saturday event, and closed Saturday, Aug. 12th at 11:59 pm for the Sunday event.