‘Mud’ events make their way to the Springs

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The springs is about to get a little muddy; three summer events include mud obstacles.

Colorado Springs’ name this summer is mud.

Events like this past weekend’s Spartan race, the upcoming Brag Like the Big Dogs mud race and the Dirty Dash Mud Race are changing typical summer runs into splash-around, roll-around, muddy-good times.

“People are just sick of the plain old 26-mile run out on the asphalt,” said Justin Bankhead, organizer of the Aug. 11 Dirty Dash Mud Race at Wonderland Ranch.

Dirty Dash is in its fifth year in mostly Western states including Oregon and Montana. But this summer is the first year for Dirty Dash Mud Race in the Pikes Peak Region.

Bankhead expects about 3,000 dashers to turn out in its inaugural year, and thinks it will continue to gain new mud enthusiasts every year it’s run.

In Idaho, for example, 20,000 people participated last year, he said. Of those, he estimates that 70 percent drive within two hours for the event and about 30 percent come from out of town and make a weekend of it. Hotel specials are offered on the Dirty Dash website.

“It’s good for the economy; it brings people in,” he said.

This past weekend, participants hit the obstacle race series in the “Spartan Race – Hades on Earth” at Fort Carson. There was fire, muddy water and barbed wire that turned the race into Hades on Earth.

The May 19 Run to the Shrine race may not have as much mud as the Spartan Race, but competitors will be rewarded with a “poo-tacular prize.”

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo called on two African elephants, Lucky and Kimba, to help make a poo-medalians for the winners of the 4th annual Run to the Shrine. Elephant poop was dried, then molded and cured with epoxy resin.

This event is the only day of the year foot traffic is allowed on the road to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. Runners tackle the nearly 1,400-foot elevation gain that winds through the zoo.  Giraffes, tigers and grizzlies line the course. All proceeds help feed and care for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s 800 animals.

There’s no lack of mud pits, walls to scale, cargo net climbs or boulders in the mud run, “Brag like the Big Dogs” Aug. 4. The course was designed by a master challenge course architect and national rock crawl track designer. This event, which is available for ages 13 and older at any fitness level, lets the whole family feel like a big dog. Proceeds support year-round programs for Extreme Impact and Adventure With A Purpose.

Summer gets into full mud swing with the Dirty Dash Mud Run, Aug. 11. The Dirty Dash will take entrants and their friends to a Rocky Mountain High that doesn’t require an intervention or a visit from a friendly DEA agent, organizers said.

Participants will crawl through pipes, launch down giant slip ‘n slides and navigate balance beams. This dirty endeavor even includes a beer (or root beer) chug to finish. Not only can spectators come for free, but they can buy water balloons at the Hog Wash obstacle to pummel runners as they pass. All the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society’s Climb for the Cure.

“It’s the best excuse to get friends together and drag them through the mud,” Bankhead said.  “We have a 180-foot slip and slide — we had it custom-made. And, there are two new obstacles, a land mine obstacle where these random fire hoses shoot up and we have a mud water fall this year.”