MS Muckfest 2017 in Denver
I walked the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Muckfest in Parker, CO this past weekend with one of my awesome daughters. It’s a 5k mud/obstacle course and was a ton of fun. I’ve run a couple Rugged Maniac races, so I have something to compare it to. Between the two, I think I prefer the Muckfest.
The signup was a minor pain in the neck. It wasn’t clear to me whether the entry fee was the final cost, or if there was a required fund-raising portion, too. Who knows if that is by design or not, but it turns out that the additional fundraising is NOT required (but, of course, appreciated). After I signed up, I was able to create a team that took about 10 minutes to be available to anyone else that wanted to sign up under it. My one beef with the process was that I wasn’t able to pick my start wave, or even a start wave preference window, when I registered. They emailed a link about two weeks out with our wave start time. I’d prefer to pick my wave. Or at least give a preference, like early, midday, or afternoon.
On arrival, there were a lot of cars in the lot, but still plenty of parking and the organizer did a good job directly people where to park. Check-in was very easy. There was no line when we walked up, and the longest line I saw was about 10 people. They had plenty of people helping with check-in. And they all had little flags they held up when they were free to help the next person in line. After check-in, it was off to the pin table to attach our bibs, then over to the t-shirt and goodie bag tent. It rained the night before so the walk up to the t-shirt tent was in over-the-ankle water. But, it’s a mud run, so who cares? They also had a key/bag check tent, which I didn’t use. Everything to get checked-in and ready to race was well-marked and well run.
Before the race, they had games and a few booths set up – cornhole, horsehoes with toilet seats, etc. We got there, as suggested on the race site, about 90 minutes prior to our start wave. That had us completely ready to go about 80 minutes before our wave. I asked the lady organizing the start corral if there was room to jump in with an earlier wave and she let us in a wave that was an hour earlier than our scheduled wave. That was good, because it started dumping rain about 10 minutes after we finished and they cleared the course due to lightning right afterward. Not sure when they opened it back up.
The course itself was designed for fun, not as an extreme obstacle course. It was in a large, flat open space so the running/walking between obstacles was very easy. None of the obstacles were very challenging, but they were all fun. There was plenty of mud and plenty of water at each obstacle. Everything was well-marked and they gave warnings if the obstacle might freak some people out – like high ones or ones that had deep water that required swimming. All of the
obstacles were easy to skip if needed. The waves and the obstacles were spaced out enough that there wasn’t much standing around waiting at each one. My only complaint about the course is that I’d like a few more obstacles. There was a stretch of at least a mile with no obstacles. Looking at a map afterward, though, that could be because the course went from open space to a more defined park. Maybe the park owner wouldn’t let them install obstacles. But, that’s a minor point, it was still fun.
The goodie bag and t-shirt were pretty basic. A black cotton t-shirt (which was not included in the standard race fee) and a banana, fruit and nut bar, and cookie in the bag. Basic, but then again, I’d rather pay a lower entry fee than get more crap in a bag. There was also a drink coupon on the bib. I got a Traveler Beer Co. Grapefruit Shandy, which was pretty tasty. There were also non-alcoholic drinks available, which was nice.
Overall, a fun race. I’ll do it again and would highly recommend it. If you’re used to Tough Mudders, this will be pretty underwhelming for you. But, if you are looking for a non-crowded, fun, family friendly OCR, this is a great choice. Check it out at here.