Who’s up for a mud run?
CUTLINE: DeeDee and Chris Nims after running in the “Muddy Buddy” race in Chicago in July 2012. The couple placed first in their co-ed division, and are now hooked on mud racing.
Who’s up for a mud run?
By Brian Smith
Have you ever had the desire to participate in an obstacle course race that would challenge not only your running ability, but your strength, stamina, and determination as well? Former Clermont resident Chris Nims and his wife, DeeDee, share that desire and have been participating in mud obstacle course races, or “mud running,” for a little over a year now.
“DeeDee is the one who kind of got me into it, and we have gone to several races together over the last year or so to compete,” said Nims, who currently resides in Robins, just north of Cedar Rapids.
Chris, who is the son of Luann and the late Robert Nims of Clermont, explains that he never was much of a runner in high school, but this type of running is different.
“It requires you to have some upper body strength and agility in order to be competitive. Without those things, even if you are a good runner, your times won’t be that good,” explained the 1995 Valley graduate.
“Mud running” courses can vary quite a bit in length and the obstacles involved. Typically the courses will be anywhere from three to five miles in length and include obstacles such as six to eight foot walls, water obstacles (creeks/rivers), hay bales, mud pits, cargo nets, and monkey bars.
“We’ve even run through ice baths and hurdled over fire,” added Nims.
The couple’s first experience with this type of running was an event last summer in Earlham called the Warrior Dash. That competition was enough to convince them to continue racing in similar mud-running obstacle course challenges.
“We weren’t sure if it was the obstacles, the furry Viking horns you get for participating, the armoured head you get if you place in your age group, or the all- day party that got us, but we were hooked from then on!” exclaimed Chris.
Chris and DeeDee then went on to compete in Chicago at a race called the “Muddy Buddy,” which was part of a weekend getaway to celebrate their 10 year wedding anniversary. It was the first time they were able to run and finish a race together in quite some time.
“We did really well competing together as a team and had a blast doing it. I started to realize that mud running is something I preferred because it is designed for a more well-rounded athlete and not just for runners,” explained Dee Dee.
They also discovered that they were good at it, finishing first in their co-ed competition and second overall. The couple have now competed in five different events, with several top-10 finishes.
Chris and his wife keep themselves in shape by regularly doing resistance training and kick boxing three times a week. These activities prepare them well for the grueling mud events in which they participate. The couple have two children, 4-year-old Lexi and 8-year-old Kinnick, who are following in their parent’s footsteps by also becoming involved in this unique style of racing.
The couple are currently scheduled to run in an event called the “Hard Charge,” which will be held on July 20 at Seminole Valley Park in Cedar Rapids. They plan to compete in the co-ed division with another couple in this race and hope to qualify for the televised event later in the day.
“If we qualify, then we will get to run the same course again that afternoon, which is supposed to be on national TV,” related Chris.
Of course, that means that they will have to run through the 20 obstacles in the 4.5-mile course a second time in one day, but that probably won’t be a deterrent for Chris and DeeDee. They seem to not only enjoy the challenge, but also the probability that they will be getting pretty dirty, wet, and muddy along the way.
In addition to qualifying at the “Hard Charge,” the couple have a goal to obtain Trifecta Status for a series of races called the Spartan Series. They plan to travel to Monterrey, Calif. to participate in “The Spartan Beast,” which is the longest and toughest of the three Spartan races. They have already completed the first two Spartan events.
Chris, who is a business manager at Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping, and DeeDee, a pharmacist for Martin Health Services, encourage others who might be interested in this type of competition to check it out. They suggest a mix of cardio, strength, and endurance training to prepare for the events. You will also need a good pair of trail shoes to make it through the variety of obstacles involved.
For first-time runners, they recommend doing the “Warrior Dash.” This is a series of races that are approximately 5K in length with obstacles that are challenging but possible for anyone to do. There are also options available for those who might want to compete with a partner or as an entire team. Some races also include events for kids.
“Mud running is awesome!” proclaimed DeeDee, in describing how she and Chris prefer it now over marathon racing. It was just what they were looking for to break the monotony of training for marathons.
“Anyone with a strong mind and will can do this,” closed Chris. That’s something Chris and DeeDee continue to prove with each event.
Who’s up for a mud run? These two definitely are.