Ralph Thomas had a primary goal when designing this year’s course for the annual Tacoma Mud Run at Swan Creek Park.
The diabolical mastermind, who doubles as a fitness and wellness coordinator for host Metro Parks Tacoma, increased the size of the mud pits. He used 7,000 gallons of water and 70 yards of dirt. That’s enough shoe-sucking slime to keep a laundromat humming for days.
Thomas practically rubbed his hands with glee at the thought of it.
“We’ve got seven wet mud pits,” emphasized Thomas. “Enough for everyone to climb through and get, oh, filthy.”
And if you were playing by the rules, merely wading wasn’t good enough.
One station required a bear crawl, another a crab walk. There were even two low-slung tarps covering mud pits that competitors navigated in near-darkness — apparently to make sure all body parts were completely covered.
Yet, everyone seemed to relish getting down and dirty save for one stuck-in-the-mud youngster who yowled: “I don’t like this!”
Janet Currie of Graham said, “It was fun. There was more mud than any run we’ve done before.”
Another competitor said the event wouldn’t be the same without it.
“Life isn’t worth livin’ if you stay clean all the time,” said Owen James, 14, of Kirkland, with a grin.
Although the event is billed as a 2-mile race, it’s more of an obstacle course. Besides the mud pit, the 16 stations included controlled spear-throwing, wall-climbing, tire dragging, dumbbell hauling and, for the true brave hearts — leaping over piles of burning logs.
A DJ kept feet moving with a throbbing set of tunes as participants set off from the start line in waves. The event was timed, but no one seemed to care in which place they finished. Upon completion, there were two rinse-off stations and a tummy-warming latte truck.
Thomas beamed as he watched approximately 400 competitors complete the course.
“Everybody’s got big smiles on their faces and big body towels to stay warm. There aren’t a lot of mud runs in March, so it’s nice that people can get out and get dirty early.”