Your First Mud Run is a small race brand with events in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. I went with my young daughter to the event at the Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA on Sunday, June 2nd. The weather was nice with a temperature in the 70s. This location was 90% in the parking lot and on the pavement. Check in was quick. Medals and shirts are available to be picked up before or after the race. Parking is free and a minimal walk so everything could be stored in your car. Bag check was also available for free.
They offer four waves, all untimed. Prices depend on when you sign up and range from $30-50. You also have the option of a “bare bones” registration that does not include a shirt or medal if you want to just go and have fun and pay less. Pictures are not included with the price of registration but can be bought in advance online or the day of for your whole team. If you decide once you see them online after the event that you want to buy them you can also buy individual pictures online.
I signed up for this race because it was something my young child could run on the same course as I did. That is not the norm for most events, especially since they allow children as young as 5. In our starting wave, I would guess about 75% of runners raised their hands that this was their first mud run. The MC, who I believe said he created the race, said that was his goal for this event. Something less intimidating for people who want to try out a mud run. It was a friendly and happy environment all around. Families and people with children made up most of the participants. Volunteers were available and all over encouraging participants.
The race was set up with 2 laps of the majority of the course. When you arrived at one of the obstacle areas, you would pick one of two obstacles. You picked on lap one and then did the other on lap two. If one had a line, you could pick the other, which helped prevent backups.
I went into this with minimal expectations as I only had seen a few obstacles on the Facebook event page. There was one mud crawl in the parking lot. They put a tarp down covered in dirt and a hose to make mud, and used bungees to make a mud crawl. Another obstacle was a pushup/burpee station where you did 10 of either on both laps. The rope climb we did on both laps, but I think this was only required once as it was next to an inflatable obstacle. The bells were at 3 different heights to give you options. They had box jumps/step ups where 5 was the lucky number. They also had heavy jump ropes with a requirement of 10 jumps. Ropes were provided of many weights. Everything could be modified to make it doable by all.
Single time obstacles on the course were a short slip wall, cargo net, an inflatable obstacle, tunnel crawl, and inflated tubes you walked over. There was a tire carry for adults that also had 2lb and 8lb sandbag pancakes for the children. Another varied obstacle was the 4ft wall for kids and a 6ft for adults. Upon completion, you got a rubber bracelet and there was the finish line.
I wrote a few articles last year about my daughter's races. She has autism and various other difficulties. The pick-your-obstacle format was spectacular for us. She did some twice and others never but it lets us skip a meltdown over sensory issues and as a parent this rocked. She was able to complete things happily. We did some obstacles extra times as my daughter loved the rope climb and ringing the bell. She preferred the tubes over the tunnel crawl so she did that twice. Same with the slip wall twice because it's a favorite as well. Unlike other events where we skip so much because of her difficulties, this event was perfect for her.
I was very pleasantly surprised with this race as a whole. I would say a 4 out of 5. It was not mine nor her first mud run but for the price it is great. Pictures are up now 3 days after the event. They had one water station but on a 2-mile loop, that was plenty. The clean off station was functional and worked well. All obstacles felt safe and secure for myself and my daughter and I didn't see or hear any issues from anyone around us either.
The only minor issue was lack of bathrooms. Once dirty the indoor location did not want us to come in and they only had 2 outdoor bathrooms. With no changing rooms, it also felt a bit odd changing in the open at your car with so many families and younger kids around vs other brands.
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