Mud runs for those used to towel service

Less intense and intimidating events are cropping up to court fitness types used to climate-controlled cycling and pristine barre studios.

Dirty Girl Mud runs have become super trendy, especially among CrossFit devotees and boot camp lovers.

Now, lots of less intense and intimidating events are cropping up to court those used to cycling in climate-controlled conditions or tucking and toning in their of-the-moment leggings at a super-pristine barre studio.

Dirty Girl, for example, is a 5K that does include obstacles but doesn’t record participants’ times. And only women are allowed on the course. (Take that, burly dudes.) “It’s all about getting out there with your girlfriends, challenging yourself, having a great time, and gaining that sense of accomplishment at the end of the day,” says spokesperson Andrea Neukom. (The recently launched Mudderella employs a similar concept.)

Since the event is coming to our neck of the woods on August 3, we asked Neukom to fill us in on what a dirt-diving newbie needs to know before taking the mud-bath plunge.

Are you fit enough?  (Yes, you are!)

If you’ve signed up for, say, the Spartan Beast, training is mandatory. But three miles is nothing if you’re in generally good shape. If you’re a Flywheel or Barry’s Bootcamp regular, you’ll probably lead the pack. Either way, it’s not timed, so even if it’s not your most impressive day, no one will know. “There will be women who run the whole thing and time themselves, and then there are women who walk the whole thing with their team,” Neukom says. And if you really, really can’t surmount an obstacle, she says it’s okay walk around it.

How hard are the obstacles?

You won’t know exactly what to expect, but most events give you an idea of the obstacles that will be waiting for you, so you’re not completely unprepared mentally. Look around on the run’s website for info—Dirty Girl, for instance, has 12 obstacles, that include scaling walls and sliding down a giant slide into a mud pit. Note: There are also representatives on the course to help you if you’re confused about how to traverse something.

How muddy is it?

Expect to be covered from the shoulders down, but you won’t necessarily be choking on mud or cleaning it out of your ears. “It’s inevitable that you’re going to get muddy, but none of the obstacles require you to dunk your head in the mud pit,” Neukom says. You’ll have a lot of control over how dirty you want to get. (That’s what she said.)

What to wear

“You want attire that won’t soak up mud or water because that just makes your clothes heavy; you’ll feel like you gained 15 pounds,” Neukom explains. So skip cotton and wear something wicking. It should also be form-fitting so you don’t snag yourself on obstacles. And don’t wear your brand-new $90 Michi NY tank. Neukom says you should be able to get all of the mud out in the wash, but probably better to err on the side of might-get-incredibly-stained.

Your sneakers, especially, will be pretty much impossible to salvage (unless you’re super patient and resourceful). Wear a pair you’re ready to part with, and Dirty Girl provides a drop-off spot after the race. Experienced scrubbers will clean them up and donate them to those in need later.

What to bring

Apply sunscreen before you leave home and bring extra. Also in your bag: A change of clothes AND shoes, extra hair ties, a towel (there’s an area to rinse off at the end), and a plastic bag for your clothes. You can bring your wallet and phone, too. Just like at most races, they’ll have a secure bag check. —Lisa Elaine Held

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