Obstacle races are a challenging twist to ordinary running and a whole lot more fun! I personally don’t like running but if you add fun obstacles in between then I am all for it! Merrell Down and Dirty Obstacle Race is a great starter race for anyone who is interested in giving these races a try. I actually got my family and a friend to try it and they loved it!
Merrell Down and Dirty is a yearly race conducted at Miami Metro Zoo. It consists of two courses: 5K and 10K (3 and 6 miles) with 20 or more obstacles. I had my family and a friend try the 5K course since it was their first time and they had never done long distance running before. Don’t feel intimidated or nervous about not being able to make it to the finish line. You can run on your own pace and do the obstacles you are comfortable doing. If you are unable to do an obstacle, their “punishment” is push-ups or jumping jacks.
Another fun twist this obstacle race allows you to do is run in teams. You and a group of friends can get together and customize your own running outfit and team name. My friend and I were recently taking belly dance classes and decided to name ourselves “Shimmying Latinas” while wearing belly dance shimmy coin belts.
The terrain consists of dirt trails, some gravel, and limestone trails and all on flat land. The race starts with about a mile run before you hit the first obstacle. Obstacles consist of net climbing (up to 20 ft!), crawling through mud pits, balance beams, rock-wall climbing, ladder walls and much more!
If you do plan on racing on this awesome obstacle course let me give you a few tips I felt helpful:
- Moderate training is advised. If you have not done any sort of running or exercise activities, I recommend running or jogging every other day at least a month before the 3K race. This way you build endurance and will not get too tired during the race.
- Have a good nutritious prerace breakfast. This consists of mostly carbohydrates and some protein such as bagels, oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly sandwich or dried fruits with yogurt and toast.
- I recommend wearing comfortable all terrain running shoes! I’ve seen some racers wear the five finger barefoot like running shoes on these types of races and all I heard were complaints with the end results of blisters and cuts on their feet. Regular running shoes should do well too.
- Wear shoes and sportswear you don’t mind getting mud all over! The amount of mud you get in towards the end of the race is massive hence getting “down and dirty”.
- Maintain a steady comfortable running pace. If you are getting too tired you may slow down or speed walk to keep the momentum going.
- Bring towels and/or extra set of clothes for after the
I hope most of you decide to take on this adventure and try something new! It is an experience definitely worth trying! If you do decide to race, I wish you the best of luck! Now go get down and dirty!