Finishing a race comes with a huge feeling of success and accomplishment, but then it comes to cleaning off the mud after the race it can be tricky. Often a long car ride or flight awaits your post race celebration. Getting clean after the race is not always straightforward. Most of the major race series such as Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash offer hoses, showers and changing tents for participants.
Sometimes that's not the case, and you might find yourself looking for options post race. Whether you have the luxury of a good rinse off or find yourself dashing to the airport below are a few trips to make the ride home as comfortable as the ride to the race.
Post Race Essentials
When packing your race kit in the morning, it's important to remember post race gear as well as race gear. Below is a post race essential list for any OCR racer:
- Full Change of Clothing – including underwear
- Extra Pair of Shoes
- Beach Towel – at least one or two
- Baby Wipes
- Garbage Bag
- Extra Sweatshirt or Fleece
- Bathing Suit
- Biodegradable Soap – such as Dr. Bronners
- 1 Gallon Jug of Water (if driving)
In the original days of OCR finding a hose after a race was not always easy. Today most races have a shower option. The essentials cover the bare minimum you will want to bring to race. The most important are the full change of clothing (including underwear) and an extra pair of shoes, your gear will be muddy and wet when you finish.
The beach towel can serve several purposes, as it can be wrapped around you when you change if there are no changing tents. The towel can be used to dry you off or drape it over your car seat for the ride home. It is recommended to bring an extra layer even in the summer as post race chills can happen after hours of being wet racing. If you want to make an investment, you can purchase an item like a Dryrobe or other changing towel. Check out our gear section for more options.
Optional gear includes a bathing suit as some like to change into the bathing suit then bath under the hoses completely getting clean whereas others do a quick rinse. Having biodegradable soap, such a Dr. Bronners will not only help you get the mud off but also make sure not to hurt the surrounding area. Always use biodegradable soap when bathing outside. Finally, if you have the room, having a gallon of water in the back of the car is always a great option if a shower is unavailable or too crowded.
Post Race Cleanup Tips/Troubleshooting
What if there are no showers?
As stated above a gallon of water in a parking lot can do the trick in a pinch. Bonus if you leave it in a sunny spot you might get a warm rinse off. You would be surprised how hot the water can get in your car on a hot sunny day. Also if there is a lake around a quick jump in the lake will get the mud off.
How to clean gear when I am racing both days in a weekend?
Traveling to a race often means a hotel stay and possibly racing both Saturday and Sunday to make the most out of a trip. Most hotels have a washer and dryer available to guests somewhere in the hotel. While you recover from one day you can wash your clothing for the next one. Ask the front desk if they have a hose you can rinse your shoes off with and pick up one of the free newspapers most places have. After you rinse the shoes, stuff the newspaper in it as it will help them dry, just be sure to change the newspaper a few times before you head off to bed.
If there is no washer or dryer in your hotel, rinse your clothing as best as possible at the race then wash them in the hotel room tub. Pack a small box of Tide or another detergent in the single serving size. Clean your clothing in the tub and hang it to dry overnight. As a common courtesy try to clean as much mud off before getting back to the room.
What happens if I have to catch a flight?
More than once I have found myself dashing from a race to the airport for a flight home. Being muddy in the airport is not fun, especially when a long flight is ahead of you. A little-known fact is many airports do indeed have a shower you can use. Next time you head to the airport ask if they have a family assist bathroom these often times have showers in them. Also, almost all airline clubs have showers and you are able to purchase days passes for most clubs. Just bring your own towel and soap and maybe shower shoes. Smaller airports may not have this luxury but most large airports do.
Where else can I shower on the way home?
If your drive home takes you past a large truck stop such as Loves or Flying J or other large travel centers most have showers that are available for a small fee. Some of the showers at these rest stops are very nice.
Overall, post-race clean-up does not have to be hard if you take a few steps to planning before you head out the door. What other methods do you use to clean up post race?