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St. Paddy’s 5 Mile Mud Run Challenge Recap

Hello friendly faces. I hope you had a fun and delicious weekend. How did you celebrate St. Paddy’s??

We got so much cleaning and housework done. On Sunday, we made ham and cheese stuffed fried pork chops (from this cookbook) with friends and sat out by the fire. It made me feel like spring is truly here, and I hope it is right around the corner! I also tried frozen custard at Whit’s (how have I never had custard?!), so the weekend was full of good food.

Whits frozen custard

I spent last weekend in Jacksonville, NC. I still owe you a recap of all the fun things I did there, but this 5 mile Mud Race deserved a post all on its own!

This race took place on the United State Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. I have never been to Camp Lejeune (or any military base for that matter), so I was all in for a fun opportunity to not only get to check it out, but to be able to run with Marines.

Saturday morning began bright and early. The race started at 8am, but I was up at 5:30 to leave the hotel by 6:30. It’s a process driving into the base itself, so I wanted to allot myself extra time. This race was part of the Grand Prix Series, which is based around racing with the U.S. Marines and on trails actually used by Marines for training. COOL, right?!

Camp Lejeune

I did a mini warm up, but honestly, it was so chilly that I just wanted to sit in my car and stay warm. The wind was brutal. I did manage to get a pre race shot, eager to take it all in.

Jacksonville Marine run

Around 7:50 am, I headed to the water tower, where the race would start. I was in the first wave based on my time, so lined up in the front. At this point, I really had no idea what to expect. As you may know from earlier posts, I like going into races blind. I like the surprises of them. Not knowing what comes next excites me and keeps me on my feet. Now, I will say, for this race, I did watch this video. So, I felt semi prepared? You can see me below with a blue headband, right after the start.

The first mile and a half was just running. I was getting into my groove and felt pretty good about the whole experience. I was thinking, “I can do this! Piece of cake!” I remember wondering when the first obstacle would come. We were running on sand and grass, but nonetheless, we were running. I high fived some Marines at the water stations and anticipated the first obstacle.

Fortunately, I had some cheer leaders who took some photos and videos – not of me, necessarily, but of the race and obstacles for your viewing pleasure! Here’s to hoping these videos work.

The first obstacle was a sand pit where you crawled under bars, followed by those large tires that you jump through. Naturally, I almost tripped and fell flat on my face on the tires.

Next, we went down into a ditch for a bit of a zig zag, followed by a 200-400 meter run (I have no idea how long it was) carrying a heavy bag of sand. It had to be about 15 lbs but it was big! This one was really challenging and gave me all the feels. Good way to wake up and spark those upper body muscles. I was thrilled to drop the sand bag at the end of that obstacle and then we headed to some balancing bars and other climbing obstacles. I kept wondering when I would get muddy!

St. Paddy's 5 Mile Race

Finally, we got to the first mud pit. It was about knee deep so nothing too terrible. I was in and out of it, then back on running on the trails through the woods. I came upon my favorite obstacle, which was a rope swing over a wooden board. There was even a tall wooden wall that we had to get over. Except we couldn’t climb or hoist ourselves up, so I’m not really sure how people got over it. Someone lifted me up – that’s all I know! I said thanks and continued on.

Next up was the never ending muddy swamp. And we’re talking getting up to chin deep. I had no idea if each step was going to be shallow or deep, so I treaded lightly because I didn’t want to hurt myself. Marines were camouflaged in the swamp, which was pretty neat. They were there cheering us on the whole time.

[Tweet “A recap of the Marine’s 5 mile Mud Run and we GOT muddy #visitjacksonvillenc #mudrun #runchat”]

St. Paddy's 5 Mile Race

And dang, this mud smelled really bad. Like really really bad. There was no getting through it quickly, it almost resembled what I think quick sand would be like. There was really nothing you could do to speed it up – you were really just “soaking” in it. At one point, I heard someone say, “It’s never just mud.” TMI!

sarah mud

The real challenge was transitioning to running after getting out of the swamp because my legs were frozen and numb. The final half mile was a straight run to the finish. I actually thought we still had a mile to go when I saw the finish line, so I was very relieved. My finish clock time was just under 50 minutes. I later found out that I won my age group and was the 5th overall woman! If only I had slugged through those muddy swamps faster..

Jacksonville mud run

After warming up and taking the longest shower of my life (so.much.dirt.), I refueled with a chili burger, some fries, and an oreo milkshake at Jeff’s (<– HIGHLY RECOMMEND).

Jeffs burgers

Would I do the race again?

Definitely! Hopefully next time, it won’t be as cold. But, then again, they did say you don’t want it too warm because then snakes and ticks would be in the mud!

Jacksonville Marine run

I’m linking up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap!

Have you ever done a mud run or obstacle race? Would you do another?


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  1. Looks like a lot of fun and you killed that race!!! I’d never try a mud run. I’m too old and would probably hurt something. That frozen custard looks amazing! Maybe frozen custard should be my motivation for my long run on Sunday!:)

  2. I get this part about not wanting to know the course however in a mud run I think I’d want to know what was coming up. You are beast for just taking on this and at a Marine base no doubt! Ha you sound like you couldn’t wait to get muddy! Lol, I’m going to differ from you on that one! Especially when they said it’s never just mud! OH NO Ma’am!
    Congratulations to you on your race and placement it’s just awesome!!

  3. This sounds exactly like my experience! It was warmer, so I wore shorts and started bleeding crawling through the muddy obstacles. SO MUCH MUD!!! It was kind of fun to do something low key and not competitive. The one I did encouraged teamwork and helping each other. That’s the only way I can do an obstacle race.

      1. I would but only if the timing is right. Usually I am training for a different type of race and a tough mudder increases the likelihood of injury. It would also have to be in the summer because cold water SUCKS!

  4. I’ve always wanted to do a mud run and loved reading about your race! I bet that shower felt like the greatest thing ever after all of that mud. And what a yummy refuel meal. Love your love for ice cream- we might be kindred spirits!!

  5. I smiled so much seeing your smile after wading through all that mud; those experiences kind of strangely invigorate me? Is that weird? And the person commenting that it is never ‘just mud’ while you were in it. Ok, that makes me chuckle; but I’m glad you were blessed with a nice long shower afterwards.

    I’m so thankful for every one of the Marines that serve the country, and it’s so neat that there were some of them on the course.

    1. I think it’s great that they invigorate you, Emily. You seem to have a passion for adventure and fun! I am so thankful for every single person who serves in our military – it’s incredible what they do for our country.

  6. This looks like SO MUCH FUN. Im’ all for mud and snakes and getting need deep in mess. And girl – you are so fierce!! You killed it! Huge congrats! If I were going to do any run in my life, I’d want it to be one of these. Until then though, I may just have to go find myself some mud to play around in.
    Ps Im so intrigued by this custard thing. Is it like ice cream?

    1. You would love it Cora. I hope you get the chance to do one, I’d love to hear about it! And Custard is like ice cream but sooo much creamier. They use higher butterfat and include the actual egg yolks (I had to google all this), but long story short, it tastes delicious.

  7. you killed it! I have never done a mud run, but definitely would like to. I think the cold temps would’ve been the hardest part for me!

  8. That looks like such a fun race! But i’m currently working on my strength training so the obstacles scare me a bit! I, like you like to go into races a bit blind. I’ll check elevation to mentally prepare for any hills and I check the weather 500 times before race day, but other than that… I’m good!