What do you want from an obstacle course race? What if I told you there was a world-class event with obstacles gathered from all over the world, many of which have been part of the Obstacle Course Race World Championships, that the 50+ obstacles spread over 6.6 miles would challenge you physically and mentally, and every piece is 100% made in the USA with all the profits going to support the local volunteer fire department and parks district. Would you do it? Well, start planning, because if you’ve never heard of or experienced the Indian Mud Run, you’re missing one of the finest and most challenging obstacle course racing events in North America. Located in central Ohio, the Indian Mud Run utilizes some of the most difficult man-made obstacles and natural terrain in a way that truly raises the bar on obstacle course racing. However, more than the mud and obstacles we all come for, the Indian Mud Run is a reminder of what the heart of obstacles course racing is all about.
About the Race:
Indian Mud Run is a non-profit organization started by Hubie Cushman seven years ago as a means to support the local city of Coschochton, Ohio. Like many of us racers, after years of running on the big courses like Spartan, Savage, and Tough Mudder, Hubie had a dream of building his own race. When the city was unable to pass a levy to support its local parks district Hubie saw his opportunity. Investing his own time and money to get it off the ground, Hubie focused on making a world class event that would be 100% made in America and supporting the local community. The local Boy Scout troop organizes and builds the kids race. The beer garden afterward is from a local brewery. A local woman hand stitches the ribbons for the finisher medals. And the most impressive are the Native American awards to the top finishers that are handmade by local Native American’s and come with a certificate of authenticity and letter from the tribe.
Obstacles and Terrain:
For the second year in a row the Indian Mud Run was held at an old closed-down golf course surrounded by hundreds of acres of woodland. The terrain is constantly rolling hills with narrow rocky trails through the woods. The biggest challenge of the Indian Mud Run is the overwhelming number of obstacles. With 55 obstacles spread over the 6.6 miles of varying terrain, the sheer number of obstacles provides a two-fold challenge by constantly keeping your muscles under stress and challenging your cardio endurance by preventing runners from being able to settle into a steady aerobic pace.
The obstacles vary from natural terrain such as rock face climbs and lake swims to manmade obstacles like the Nuclear Ninja and Dragon Backs. The crowning achievement of the course is obstacle number 55, the Floating Walls, which were featured at the 2017 OCR World Championships.
Every race has their group of volunteers to maintain safety and order for the participants. Some races have good volunteers support and others bad. However, Indian Mud Run took it to a whole new level. I’ve never met so many enthusiastic and helpful volunteers on a course. They were knowledgeable of the rules for each obstacles, great cheerleaders shouting encouragement, and showed a concern for every racer there. The course only had three water stations and at the finish line was water and bananas. With such a tough course and given the heat of late June in Ohio I would have liked to see more hydration stations and refueling options at the end.
This was my first year running the Indian Mud Run and I will honestly say I wasn’t prepared for what I got. In my 6 years of racing I’ve done a lot of races including world championships, but I have to say the Indian Mud Run was the most challenging. Every time I go to a race my wife questions my sanity and about half way through I was asking the same thing. However, there’s a reason why I do these things and this race was the reminder I needed. Yes I’m competitive and yes I’m a medal whore. Sure the big races have prizes and the novelty of racing an event that will convince your friends that you’re either a badass or have completely lost your mind. But the reason I started doing this was to feel alive while challenging myself beyond what I would normally do physically or mentally. Indian Mud Run brought me back to the beginning. It showed me the purity of the OCR community and gave me a physical challenge that will be in my head until I can come back next year to improve my time. If you’re going to travel for one race next year, get in your car, buy a plane ticket, and come to Ohio. You won’t regret it.
4 out of 5 stars
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