This weekend Ashdown Primary School are holding their annual mud run and will be having lots of fun raising funds for the school PTA. We wish the families and kids taking part well and hope they raise loads for their PTA. This muddy experience has prompted me to look into the mud event phenomena. Ashdown join a host of other event organisers who are turning to mud to challenge and entertain and a whole industry has sprung up in recent years. Mud is gaining ground!
Its not uncommon on a weekend to see exhausted people walking along the road covered head to toe in the brown stuff looking like they have been dragged behind a tractor on a rainy day! The dirtier you get, it seems, the better you will feel and yes, this is exercise!
Crawling through tight muddy tunnels, wading across icy water, dodging electric wires and jumping over fire. This is not everyone’s idea of fun – but a multimillion-pound industry has grown on the back of increasing numbers of women and men doing just that. A recent BBC article: Mud, Sweat and Cheers, gives some fantastic and seemingly incredulous examples around the world of mud and challenge runs that would make you feel dirty and exhausted just looking at the photos and leave the reader wondering how on earth anyone makes it to the finish line alive! (I quickly step in here and say don’t be alarmed – a primary school’s event will be very safe and they won’t be doing all of that!)
But what draws participants to these ultimate challenge events? Perhaps lives have just become too clean and safe. Perhaps there is a need to reconnect with the experiences of ancestors who had to endure extreme hardship just to survive. Perhaps these events are seen as the next level of endurance race. Everyone may have a different reason to take part but once you do, what appears consistent is that you become well and truly embedded in the concept.
Spending time in mud is good for us too apparently. A Telegraph article written (about children) last year by Linda Blair: Mind Healing the Psychology of Getting Dirty: tells us that parents should encourage children to get muddy. It says that there are many advantages and cites “Spending time outside encourages the production of endorphins, our natural painkillers that trigger feelings of wellbeing and being outdoors helps set our biological clock and promotes more restful sleep”. Ashdown Primary may be leading the way here!
Well done if you have taken part your own mud challenge. We look forward to hearing how you do and good luck to all in the Ashdown Primary School event this weekend.
Obstacle Course Race Association is a governing body formed to ensure that this type of event is safe – check out http://www.ocrauk.org.uk. “Train safe, Race safe.”
PHOTO by Steven L. Shepard, Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs