Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Inaugural Urban Mudder Review

A few months back, my best friend from college, Heavy D (the other one) asked me if I would do an Urban Mudder event with him.  Without hesitation, I said yes.  Not because I had been dying to participate in a Mudder; not because I wanted to know what it was like to swim in an ice cold pool of shit; not because I wanted to put to the test my months of bathing with the hairdryer plugged in; but because it was an opportunity to hang with Heavy D who lives in Connecticut and I don't get to see as often as I should.  I invited a few other friends who all jumped at the opportunity, however, come the evening before the race, it was back to just Heavy D and me.  One friend who had a knee injury was kind enough to let my other best bud, Eddy, use her ticket at the last minute.

The morning of the Mudder I was due to run 10 miles according to my Hanson Marathon schedule.  I decided to run 8 around my neighborhood really because I had no idea what to expect later on the five mile Mudder course.

I drove into Harlem and got a very lucky parking spot right on the corner of 123rd Street and 2nd Avenue.  I was early so I hung out on a bench in the shade at an apartment complex across the street.  The sun was already high in the sky and hot.  Heavy D and Eddy finally arrived and we walked across the Triborough Bridge.  The event began in waves so we passed people who already finished.  They looked very casual as though they were coming back from shopping or brunch, not even a bead of sweat on anyone's brow.  Piece of cake, I thought.

Before photo.  NYC in the background.

Starting area

Once we were on Randall's Island, signs along the course led us to the start.  It didn't seem like there were too many participants - until we got to the start.  There were kiosks galore, porta potties, bag checks, even a dunk booth in case you felt the need to be steeped in a bucket of ice (which I soon considered a fine option).  We checked our backpacks for $5 underneath a bunch of picnic tables.  We had the option of checking them for $20 with a security guard.  I felt uneasy about our choice so I brought half of my cash, my car keys, and my phone with me.  We saw a line snaking throughout the area only to discover we needed to be on the end of it to start.  We were baking from the heat.  Luckily, they were letting large groups through at a time so the line moved faster than expected.

As we reached the start, the Head Rush obstacle was right in front of us.  People were scaling two slanting poles (one with their hands, the other with their feet) from one end to the other.  There was about six inches of murky water beneath them.  All the spectators (us included) were commenting on the people attempting the obstacle, either with "expert" advice, gasps when people fell into the water, or all out laughter at how dumb some people looked.  Of course, we realized that we would be those foolish looking suckers sooner than we could say "Splash!"

We made it to the head of the line.  The security guard let us pass only to be stopped in a hundred yards to wait another twenty minutes.  This happened two more times until we ended up on the Icahn Stadium track.  Heavy D, who has participated in many a Mudder and Spartan event, commented that this was the worst organized of any of his races.  Waiting on lines with him, by the way, is always entertaining.  He's like one of those guys who gets a studio audience ready and excited before a talk show.  He cracks jokes, talks to strangers, and makes the times pass painlessly.  There was an emcee on the track going over some safety precautions, basically, if we think we can't do it without causing bodily harm, then don't.  And we were off!

We ran around the track to our first obstacles, hurdling over a couple of plastic barricades.  Oh, this is easy!  And then we were back at the Head Rush.  Devant went first.  He completed the obstacle, however, it looked as though he was struggling a bit and if he was struggling, well then I'm fucked.  This is how I gauged each event:  Devant = okay > I'm okay; Devant = not okay > I'm fucked.

Next, Eddy was up:

He did great all the way to the end...

...until it was time to dismount. Hee hee.

I did not make it to the end, but only my feet got wet, unlike Eddy...

Next we had to carry a large metal pipe around a field and over, under, and through barricades:

"It's A Hard Knock Life" was blaring on the 
sound system as we did this.

My partner did not take the task at hand
as seriously as I.  

Climbing the "Bladder" was next.  The hardest thing about this was the black rubber was about 1,000 degrees from sitting in the sun, as was the black rope.  

Go Eddy!  

Ouch. Ouch. Hot. Hot. Ouch...

Then we had to walk across a large pipe:

No problemo!

That spins:

Si, problemo.

We scaled a couple of ten foot walls, meaning Heavy D scaled the walls and then pulled us up.  We went into dark rooms where we had to avoid lasers or else an alarm would ring.  There were alternating piggy back rides.  Then we had to crawl under wire mattress springs (?) which thankfully did not have barbed wire laced into them (like the Spartan races), otherwise I wold be backless, literally.

This is harder than it looks.
Don't let the smile deceive you.

Yay, monkey bars!  It helps if your teammate
holds your legs for the second half.(which may 
or may not have happened).

This was easier for me than the guys because
of my tiny feet.  Yeah!!

The Rooftop Series was last.  We climbed up two flights of ladders and then had to jump over a gap of about a ten foot drop onto a cushioned floor.  This is the one event where we had seen people being carried off on stretchers earlier in the day.  The three of us made the jump unscathed.

Eddy be nimble, Eddy be quick...

And then there was the balance beam, that is, the wobbly balance beam.  Visions of broken ankles and legs danced through my head.  I couldn't let go.

$10 is yours if you don't make me do this.  

And then the final event was another flight up, jumping from the rooftop onto a large cushion on the ground.  I was surprisingly excited to do this, considering I was chicken shit about the balance beam.  Eddy was ahead of me trying to get out of jumping.  I nudged him aside and went all out cowabunga!  'Twas fun.

Hey, Geronimo!

We picked up our free Urban Mudder headbands, socks, and tank tops, took some photos, and headed to the beer tent to get our long overdue complimentary Shockwave.

In conclusion, the Mudder was poorly organized, but forgivable since it was the first Urban Mudder in the country.  I had a fantastic time, mainly because I did it with two of my closest friends.  I definitely would do another one.  After the marathon.


  1. Great post! I would have liked to try that, I think..

    1. I think you would have a blast! Maybe you can do the next one with us!

  2. I read every word. You and your friends are insane. At least you didn't have to pay for that torture, right?