I can count the number of times I’ve wound up covered in mud from head to toe on one hand. I fell in a mud puddle on the playground when I was three (I cried), I slipped and fell in a muddy field when I was training for a half marathon in 2007 (I cursed), and on Tuesday morning while running the Dirty Donkey practice run at Springhill Winter Park, I purposely dove head first into a mud pit (I laughed).
At 4:30am, I rolled out of bed and contemplated what to wear on the practice run. I was stymied. What does one wear to a muddy obstacle course? I settled on a pair of flared crops, a tank with a built in bra, and a long sleeve tech top with lots of pockets for gels and keys and iPods and hoped for the best.
It didn’t take me long to decide that on August 18 I won’t be wearing the same outfit. Mud, hay and gravel wound up getting trapped inside my crops, I had chunks of mud trapped inside the various pockets of my tech top, and … well, I don’t really want to talk about what wound up inside my shelf bra, but it wasn’t pretty. So I turned to the experts, and have compiled a list of dos and don’ts for the Dirty Donkey race day.
- …wear the most expensive technical running garments you own – or anything that you wouldn’t feel comfortable throwing away. The Dirty Donkey course is muddy, dirty, tough and fun, and your clothing might wind up being a casualty.
- …wear your favorite, fancy gym shoes. At some point during the race, you’ll look down and realize that you can hardly even see your shoes anymore, they are caked in so much mud. “Some people throw them away,” Jan Cmela, from the Dirty Donkey race crew, said about shoes.
- …wear shoes with cleats or spikes. You don’t want to hurt your fellow racers on the course.
- …take yourself too seriously! You’ll be covered in mud from head to toe, completely soaked, and I guarantee you’ll be howling with laughter for most of it. Have fun with the muck and mess.
- …wear costumes! You’ll see people wearing tutus, superhero costumes and more, and there’s even a best costume contest. Anything goes, the more creative the better!
- …wear shoes with a good grip to them. I wore my Vibram 5finger Bikilas, and they were perfect on the practice run. Jan gave me a valuable piece of advice on shoes: make sure you tie them TIGHT or you might lose them in the muck.
- …wear full lengths tights, knees socks, gloves… Many of the obstacles are crafted using bales of hay. Did you know that hay is prickly and sharp? I didn’t, and now my calves have scratches all over them. On race day, I’ll be wearing a pair of knee socks. Other obstacles are made of wood, so if you want to avoid the possibility of splinters, look into a pair of gloves designed to help with grip and protect your hands.
- …wear shorts, crops or pants that are tight and fit perfectly, or have a drawstring that you can cinch nice and tight, otherwise your bottoms might stay behind in the mud pit.
- …train in your gear as much as possible. Get your team together and go for a run or a workout together in your team costumes. The worst place to find out that your shorts cause terrible chafing is in the middle of a race, so make sure you now they’ll stand up.
After the race:
- “Whatever you wear, prepare to strip down in possible communal shower surroundings, so a sports bra underneath is a good idea for the ladies, or some sort of tank top that works. The less on you when you shower off the best. You may be covered thick with mud, and right beside you may be a man. All bets are off when you’re that muddy,” Jan advises.
- Q-Tips and wipes will help get mud out of your ears and off your face.
- Bring a towel for after the communal showers, a bag for your dirty gear and a change of clothing for the beer tent/drive back to the city. But stay away from white – no matter how clean you might feel after you’re hosed down, you’re not that clean, and your whites will not stay white for long… unless, of course, you want to look like this:
Photo courtesy of Joseph Ranseth.
The Dirty Donkey 5k Mud Run is August 18 at Springhill Winter Park and Oasis Resort, starting at 9:00am. Registration is $79.00 per individual (you can race solo or as part of a team), and registration is open until August 11th. A portion of all proceeds and pledges form the race will be donated to the MS Society of Manitoba.
Want more? Check out Rebecca’s daily style blog, Fashionflirt, read about Metro Winnipeg reporter Lauren Parsons’s experience running the practice run here, and take a gander at some Dirty Donkey obstacle teasers here!