Indian Mud Run was amazing! I was so impressed with Hubie and the entire team of people that helped put this competition together. Even the passion that led to the name of the race was so great to hear about. The race is in honor of the Lenape, commonly known as the Delaware Indian tribe, who had their capital on the racing grounds. Hubie’s only desire was to honor the tribe and had asked many Native Americans to make sure the name was not offensive. When more people questioned the name, Hubie reached out to the leaders of the Delaware tribe and gave them absolute power to decide if they felt it honored their heritage, or if they wanted the name changed. They kept it, and the race felt like a celebration of their heritage, including authentic Native American-made awards.

I have heard of this race for many years but was never able to compete because it coincided with the Ninja Warrior Finals in Vegas. Two weeks before the race, I was asked about hosting a booth there for my Columbus gym, MLab Ohio. That’s when I realized I could make it to the race this year, and run too! I started running in preparation but knew that there wasn’t enough time to fully be prepared, and I had heard the race was a really challenging one with 85 obstacles and a lot of elevation change. I had no idea how my body would fair, but was excited to try it out!

Michelle Warnky Buurma and the Women’s Elite wave.

When I pulled up, the setup was great with lots of tents for people to visit (one even had a free cookie!), as well as music, and a front seat to the start and finish line! There were plenty of port-a-potties right near the start, so no one ever had to wait in a line. There was also a food stand providing options for friends, family, and runners after their race. You could hear Coach Pain getting people ready at the start line, and excitement and friendship was in the air!

Coach Pain at the start line with Veejay Jones, Logan Broadbent, and the Men’s Elite wave.

Once the race started, I just constantly kept saying in my head how impressed I was! The terrain was great. There were plenty of wide-open sections to run, mixed with more technical trail running up, down, and around the trees. While it was technical running, it wasn’t unsafe running, which I really appreciated. You weren’t constantly scared of rolling an ankle or having to slow down to make sure you didn’t get hurt. There were a lot of steep uphill climbs and scaling downhills, but any vertical that was too steep had a rope nearby that you could use to keep you safe. Whether you were running with someone or were alone for a section of the race, it had beautiful scenery and it was just enjoyable running! In one section, I even found a delicious black raspberry, so I picked it and enjoyed its flavor while on the course!

Indian Mud Run terrain

Now onto the obstacles. Again, I was impressed! I had heard 85 obstacles, which made me curious about what counted as an obstacle. They did a great job of making each of them a legit obstacle, some easier and smaller, and some much bigger or longer and harder. They had a diverse style of obstacles as well. There were many different types of rigs or hanging obstacles, as well as ropes, carries, full-body obstacles, hurdles, walls, balance, slides, and even swimming! I am a terribly inefficient swimmer, so that is definitely an area I need to work on before next year. They have the infamous Ravine Slide that was at Mud, Guts, and Glory years ago, that leaves you flying down a steep, long hill, and shoots you far into the lake! Instead of being able to just walk out from there, you actually had to swim a little after, then climb a cargo net, and swim some more. Swimming was definitely my most challenging obstacle!

John Chapman takes on the Ravine Slide

My favorite obstacles are always the rigs and hanging ones, which there were many of! I love the Gibbons, which requires the precise placement of a horizontal peg into a swinging cradle. If you miss the cradle, then you have to hang on your one arm while waiting to swing back and try again. This often leads people to fall and having to take multiple attempts. This obstacle was a huge time killer for many at NorAm Championships in 2019, and I suspect it was for many at this race as well!

Fred Schlinder makes his way across the Gibbons

The Weaver is another one of my favorites, where you have to weave your body under and over wood planks. I love that there are several different techniques that people use to complete it, though they will all likely leave some bruises! If you are efficient, you can generally gain or make up a solid amount of time on people with that obstacle.

Over and under, through the Weaver

There were also a lot of fun wall climbs, and even a really tall wall (20-25ft maybe) with a rope climb to get over. Those don’t require as much technique as just strength and endurance during a long race. Since I didn’t have much mileage under my belt, my calves and hamstrings were on the verge of cramping for the last 3 miles and did several times while on obstacles. I had to use my upper body as much as possible on the obstacles to try to give my legs a break after all the hills. That’s the exact opposite of what I would do on Ninja Warrior! If you ever get the chance to use your feet on an upper-body obstacle in ninja, you take advantage of that as much as possible. But in OCR, your whole body is working hard and you cater your techniques to how your body is feeling at that moment! There was a really long, fun rig with cargo nets, ropes, and rings. I would normally use my hamstrings a bit while climbing a cargo net, but I had to focus on mainly pulling up with my arms, and I think my legs still cramped up there!

Marissa Carpentero takes on the Low Rig

Right before the finish line, there was a fun combo of the Floating Walls and some high-up Rings and Bars to monkey across. I love both, but my calf cramped up again on the floating walls, so I ended up only using one leg on most of the walls and dangled for a while trying to work out my calf! Once the cramp was gone, I enjoyed swinging on the final moves of the high-up obstacle, which feels like flying! It was a great obstacle to end on and was perfect for spectators to cheer people on as they finished the race. The whole course was laid out really well so that friends and family could see quite a few of the obstacles with only a short walk! My parents came out to cheer me on, and I saw them at probably at least 10 big obstacles.

Finishing the course

With the combination of obstacles, terrain, and distance, this race was a great well-rounded test of each person’s abilities. My body held up somewhat, but my spirits were high as I enjoyed being out in nature and taking on the course! I was even pleasantly surprised that this race had the top 5 on the podium. I ended up getting 4th and was really impressed with the size of the medals and plaques, as well as the authentic Native American-made tomahawks. Huge shout out to winners Amy “Magic Pajcic” and Logan Broadbent who are incredible friends, people, and racers, and absolutely crushed the course. Those who went above and beyond like my CTG teammates Amy Pajcic, Evan Perperis, and Scott Wierzycki ran 3 laps of the course and got an authentic Native American-made arrow!

Chrissy McFarland, Logan Broadbent, and Veejay Jones show off their post-race swag.

This course is not for the faint-hearted, as it was a little over 7 miles with lots of hills and obstacles! I highly recommend this race for those who love a challenge and want to test their limits. It was such a fun atmosphere, on an amazing course, with challenging obstacles, and a great group of people!

Elite Men’s race results
Elite Women’s race results

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