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Airmen mud run for exercise fun

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Running a race course can be a daunting event all on its own, but add obstacles such as tunnel crawls, tire steps, wall climbs, water slides cargo nets and whatever else the course designer throws out there and you have an extreme obstacle course. Now fill it with mud and you have a race that is called a mud run.

They are the latest craze for those who've become bored with their normal workout routines and many Airmen are participating.

"A mud run is a term used to describe an obstacle course race for people, like myself, who don't enjoy plain running," said Senior Airman Rose Gudex, a photojournalist for the 21st Space Wing and a four-year mud run enthusiast.

Exploding in popularity over the past decade, Airmen look forward to these events as a form of filthy fitness that can't be accomplished on base or at a gym, she said.

One particular type of mud run is called the Spartan Race, which has three categories. The first is the Spartan Sprint, which is a 3-5 mile race depending on which location you run at; the second is a Spartan Super, an 8-10 mile race; and the toughest race, the Spartan Beast, is a 13-15 mile race. All of them consist of obstacles and plenty of mud.

Runners can become a member of the Spartan TRIFECTA by finishing each Spartan distance race -sprint, super and beast - in one calendar year anywhere in the world.

"If you complete all three races in one year, you get a medal for each and they click into a TRIFECTA," said Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault, also a photojournalist with the 21st SW and a four-year mud run participant.

Mud runs have two categories, competitive and non-competitive. In the competitive category, there are strict rules on what to do and what to wear. Gudex and DeNault participate in the non-competitive race and ran as a team in 2015.

"You can run individually, but everyone helps each other finish the race, so it's kind of like a team effort for everybody," said DeNault.

Some people even dress up like it's Halloween and wear a variety of costumes, Gudex said.

"My first mud run was a Warrior Dash and there were a surprising amount of people dressed in costumes," she said. "I even saw a banana chase a gorilla through an entire race."

At the end of the race there are no showers, just a hose or pond to clean themselves off.

"The joke is that the water where you clean yourself off is like the worst obstacle on the course because it's like ice water," DeNault said. "It almost feels like ice cubes are hitting you."

These two Airmen are motivated to maintain their physical fitness. Spartan Races and other mud runs change the atmosphere for which they train by inspiring them to run, jump, climb and laugh, all while covered head to foot in mud, to a sense of fulfillment.
The mud runs, no matter the length, exhaust the body like no other road run and these Airmen are willing to do it again and again.

"It's terrible while you're doing it, but in the end you feel good about it," DeNault said.

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