I was lucky enough to find another local mud race here in Pennsylvania for racers to try out, the Harrisburg Mudmash. This race is part of the local race series organized by the Harrisburg area YMCA, which provides some great running road races in the Central PA area. The Mudmash is a trail run that gives many of the local racers a chance to do the trails along with trying out the mud racing scene.
This race was just a bit different from some of the other mud races by offering at 21+ evening race (for an after party with food and alcohol) and a daytime race for everyone to race (but still had the post-race beer available for adult racers). For the evening race, there were lights on the course as the sun went down so racers would have a very different racing experience. For the day race, no lights were needed, but the course was run through a very hilly and challenging trail course that was a pleasant surprise. It also was a great course plan, with most of the course being shaded during the warm weather (about 80 degrees at the start).
A few notes to this race.
There was no official timing, and no finishers medals were awarded. This course was made to go out and test out what a mud race would be, and I really enjoyed that since many folks obsess over the medals you get after the race. You did get a shirt, but also food/drink before and after the race which was much more than I thought would be provided. The cost of the race was very easy on the wallet, With any child registering up to race day would pay no more than $25, and the adult racers registering on race day would pay at most $45. That is what I love about the local races, you still get a good race without having to break the bank.
A very low key, unassuming starting line to this race. Even though it was not officially timed, a clock was placed at the start/finish line for racers. A great spot that I was able to talk with some racers before hitting the course. Even though the race is smaller, it didn't lack in the challenging of the racers on the course. The beginning of the course was a tough uphill climb, followed by a nice rolling, rocky downhill to the first obstacle, a cool mud pit to start off. From there, (after me missing a turn sign and going a 1/2 mile in the wrong direction) we were taken through lots of wooded areas, along with plenty of logs to jump over and lots of rocky terrain to test your footing.
Most of the obstacles were different from what you see in the bigger races, but still had a familiar feel to them (rope carry, Over/Under fence, Water Slide) and were definitely fun to go through on the course. I thought that the obstacles were well placed on the course, with the bigger water obstacles set in the warm sun but others that didn't need to be open were well placed in the shaded woods. Most of the course was easy to follow, but it could use a bit more markings for some racers if they are not used to running trails or mud races.
Some obstacle were pretty easy, but that was just to go light on you for the last uphill climb, which was back up the original hill we came down at the beginning of the race. They also had a heavy climb rope along the ascent to assist if you had trouble on the tough rocky trail.
I really liked that the race did the loop back to the original starting point, so it made it pretty easy for family members to see everyone coming back at the finish. It also made is extremely easy to clean up after the race, with a full shower clean up area and a changing tent area for all racers. Plus, it was less than a 30-second walk to the parking area, which made it super easy to come and go from the race.
Overall, I think it was a well thought out race to bring out the trail runners along with the mud racers. I would love to see them expand even more on this race, with some more obstacles that are a bit more challenging (even though I know some were done to make the younger racers not feel intimidated). I loved the trail they picked since it combined rocky with muddy throughout. A well planned out event that I would definitely recommend to my fellow racers.
I give the Harrisburg Mudmash a 3.5 out of 5 stars. A well-planned, thought out event that can become a mud racer's must-do with some very slight changes.