I consider myself a non-competitive distance runner. What exactly does that mean? Well, I primarily run for fun, only competing against myself. I don’t care if I finish 1st, 2nd, 54th, or 89th. As long as I cross the finish line, knowing that I have given it my all, I am 100% satisfied with my effort.

A couple of years ago, the above wasn’t working for me anymore. I would enter a 5K or 10K distance race for a local charity or organization, cross the finish line and the sense of accomplishment just wasn’t there. I am not sure what happened or why, but I knew I needed to find another fitness hobby to stay in shape.

One day over a lunch, I was talking about this with a good friend of mine and he looked at me and smiled. He began to tell me about the great expereince he had when he participated in a famliy mud run a couple of months back with his kids. The next thing I knew, I was signing up for my first mud run: the family mud run in Wildwood Beach, NJ.

Whenever I am about to try something new, I immediately research it so that I am 100% sure of what I am getting into. I Googled the website and looked over the route and obstacles for the NJ family mud run. After this initial inspection, I knew that mud runs and obstacle course racing would be my fitness salvation.

First things first, I began to weight train. I focused on upper body, core, and leg strength. I wasn’t exactly worried about the length of the course since I have run that distance before and knew I would have time to rest as I approached each obstacle.

After three months of training for a mud run and one long car ride to the site of the mud run which just so happened to be on a New Jersey Beach, I found myself at the starting line with my buddy and a few other friends.

mud run teamworkThe first major difference between mud runs and traditional running, that I noticed, was that teamwork was crucial to your success. Yes, you can do a NJ family mud run or obstacle course race by yourself, but you cannot complete the course without the help of your fellow competitors. That is one of the best ways to enjoy running again is to understand that a mud run is all about over coming adversity with friends and family.

After two and half hours, all of us crossed the finished line, hand and hand, greeted with medal and other goodies.

After this experience, I now commit to at least 3 to 4 family mud runs through out NJ, PA, NY and MA every year. Another benefit from participating in family mud runs and obstacle course races is that my training has been reinvigorated; my distance running has improved, strength has increased, and I am more flexible.

If you are like the old me, finding yourself growing tired of the same normal training regime and traditional 5Ks, 10Ks, or half marathons, you should sign up for a family mud run with your friends and family. I guarantee that these races will change you for the better!