Top Eight Most Outrageous Mud Run Outfits

mudrun_suit8. Suit and Tie

Hitting the mud run trail after a long day at work? Why not sport your best blue blazer and khakis, complete with skinny tie and cuff links? This strictly business look is the ultimate overdressed obstacle racing outfit. The Mad-Men mudman look never gets old in our book.

superhero17. Superhero

Conquering a mud run can make you feel like a superhero, so why not dress like one? Whether deep down you’re a Hulk, Wonder Woman, or Incredible, a mud run is the perfect opportunity to let your alter ego shine through. As a bonus, you might even get a chance to save a fellow mudder. What a photo-op!

sumo6. Sumo Wrestler

Looking to add misery to your mud run and look as ridiculous as possible? Then throw on a sumo wrestler costume on race day. This ensemble will no doubt add a new level of difficulty to obstacles like tunnels, tires, and anything involving climbing, carrying, and/or water.

goruck5. Weighted Ruck

As if a mud run isn’t tough enough, the true glutton for punishment finds a new level of pleasure high-stepping through the muck with a pack full of bricks on his back. These crazy mutha’s are the true elite of the obstacle race community. Looking to get your ruck on, sign up for a GoRuck Challenge.

waldo4. Where’s Waldo?

As a world traveler and time travel aficionado who always dresses in red and white, Waldo (aka: Wally) defines the adventure-seeker in us all. Spotting Waldo on a packed mud run course never fails to make me feel like a kid again. The candy-striped getup can transform guys and gals alike into this classic crowd-pleaser.

barefoot3. Barefoot

Unless you’re a well-trained minimalist runner, taking on a mud run barefoot is a risky proposition. The typical mud run course can span rocky terrain, dirt trails, and pavement. If this doesn’t leave you craving your favorite pair of Nike’s, mistiming your jump over a fire obstacle will certainly do the trick.

2. Bikini

For the brave and beautiful, the bikini provides little in terms of protective covering, but has a lot to offer for those looking for (or looking at) the ultimate dirty girl ensemble.

manthong1. Man Thong

At some point, running a mud run in a g-string was an original idea. Nowadays, it’s a lot less surprising to see a full-on gluteus maximus display along the course, yet there’s still something endearing about bouncing man cheeks covered in mud and magic marker. Keep up the good work dudes!



How to Prepare: A Week of Obstacle Race Training

So your buddy convinced you to sign up for an obstacle race and you have no idea how to train for this event. Tell me, does your plan look anything like this, run a couple days a week while doing the same old strength routine, topped off with some P90X for good measure?  Sure, this plan might get you through the race. But by the time you stagger across the finish line your buddies, your girlfriend and all of her friends will be taking in the post race party, well into their third adult beverage. Do yourself a favor, ditch the beach body workout and train like a hybrid athlete who has the strength, stamina and race skills that will allow you to dominate on race day.

The Obstacle Race Essentials  

Run: Complete at least 2 run workouts per week.  Choose from run workouts that include a long run, hill sprints, intervals or a tempo run.

Strength: Use bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups can be used to create a foundation of strength. Next, kettlebell swings and explosive movements like jump squats, burpees, and box jumps will help improve balance and leg strength.

Race Skills:  To train the skills that will help during the race by training to improve athleticism and all around fitness. Try mixing running intervals or sled pushes with strength based exercises. Train outdoors in a setting similar to the race. Find some oversized tires to flip, carry or throw around.

The Plan

Program a week of training to focus on the essentials; running, strength and race skills.

Monday:  Strength

  • Perform 5×5 of Deadlift, Squat OR Leg Press
  • Then, perform this circuit as many times as you can in 15 minutes
  • 10x Burpee, 20x Kettlebell Swing, 10x Dumbbell Plank Row (each arm)

Tuesday:  Run

  • Set out to cover a moderate distance at an up-tempo pace; 3-5 miles is ideal.

Wednesday: Strength

  • Perform 5×5 of Push-press, Military Press or Bent-over Row
  • Then, 20-2 by 2 of (20 of each, 18 of each, 16 of each…2 of each)
  • Box jump, push-up, step-up, pull-up or inverted row (strict, no kipping), weighted sit-up

Thursday: Run

  • Think speed and explosion today.
  • Pick one:  Run intervals at the track 8-10 x 400 meters, 8-10 x 90 second hill repeats OR 8-10 x 100 meter sprints w/60 seconds climbing stadium stairs

Friday: OFF

Saturday: Skills or Long Run

  • Today, run longer than you did Wednesday at a conversational pace -OR-
  • Get out all of your fitness toys and combine sprints, kettlebell swings, sled pushes/pulls, tire flips, farmer’s carry and bear crawl into one workout.

Try this:

  • 3-5 Rounds
  • Weighted Sled Push @ 50 yards
  • Run 400m
  • 20x Kettlebell Swing
  • Weighted Sled Pull @ 50 yards
  • Run 400m
  • 20x KB Thruster
  • Weighted Sled Bear Crawl @ 50 yards
  • Run 400m
  • 20x KB Swings
  • Weighted Sled Backwards Drag
  • Run 400m
  • 20x KB Thruster

Sunday: OFF

Joe VennareJoe Vennare is a successful entrepreneur and accomplished fitness professional. As the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Joe designs innovative fitness programming for endurance, multi-sport, and obstacle course athletes. As co-creator of Kettlebell Cardio, Joe presents instructional workshops for this nationally recognized kettlebell program and instructor certification. In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe is also a sponsored endurance athlete competing in triathlon, ultra-marathon, and adventure racing. Joe’s motivation to train and compete in endurance sports is fueled by a desire to test his physical abilities and mental toughness.


10 Essentials to Gear Up for a GORUCK Challenge

I don’t think you can ever fully prepare for a GRC. That’s part of their beauty.

I was going through some of my older posts when I recently came across my GORUCK Challenge Review from last year’s Class 093 in Washington, DC. Whether you’ve already signed-up or contemplating challenging yourself with some good livin’, you’ve probably started to consider what gear you’ll need to survive the night.

When I signed up, I sweat over the prep. Would I need one headlamp or two? How many pairs of extra socks should I bring? Long pants or shorts? Do I need energy bars, caffeine pills, a Swiss Army knife?

Well, if you read the reviews, you’ll quickly discover that “over-gaming” it is a common mistake of rookie Ruckers. If you’ve got a GORUCK Challenge on your radar, read over this top ten list of essential items to help ease your anxieties and get you primed for good livin.’

Note: I’ve got a few affiliate links in the list below that will take you directly to If you happen to make a purchase I’ll earn a few sheckles. There’s absolutely no risk on your part and it won’t cost you a penny extra.

  1. Ruck: a GORUCK has no equivalent in my book, so that is what I recommend. I borrowed a GR1 and was able to fit all my gear, water bladder and six bricks comfortably (relatively speaking). The straps fit snugly, water drains with a simple flip of the bag, and the bag washed easy with a hose and quick scrub-a-dub.
  2. Water: 3L Camelbak Reservoir, filled. Water is THE most important item that you will need whether it is hot or cold. Don’t skimp on H20.
  3. Shoes: comfortable running shoes with adequate padding (non-minimalist).
  4. Socks: I used a pair of injinji Toesocks and covered them with another pair of regular merino wool socks. An extra pair in your bag isn’t a bad idea.
  5. Hat: preferably a GORUCK Tac Hat, but something warm and waterproof if cold and/or raining.
  6. Light: Any decent headlamp will do. I used a P-Tec Byte Headlamp. It’s ultra-light and semi-water resistant. (Tip: you can crazy glue the seams to seal it up.)
  7. Gloves: I used a pair of Mechanix Work Gloves that were a little too thin for the cold and not great when wet. Try something warm and water-resistant.
  8. Top: If cold, a decent windbreaker with a hood is a good way to go. Don’t underestimate the power of a windbreaker. I used a sleeveless compression under and a long-sleeve cold gear compression top over in addition to the windbreaker. This kept me warm enough in winter in DC. Once the sun came out, I could have lost the windbreaker. Also, the compression gear dries quick after you hit the water.
  9. Bottom: I wore a pair of spandex with Billabong board shorts after changing in and out of my compression pants about five times right before the start of the Challenge. A lot of that was nerves, but it was also that I was concerned about spending the night in wet pants. I think I might use a pair of Convertible Trail Pants that tear away at the knees next time to spare myself from having to decide last-minute.
  10. Food: Peanut M&M’s, cashews, banana. Nuts are great for energy, bananas prevent cramps, and M&Ms make me happy. Again, water is most important, not food. Have a decent meal before your Challenge.
  11. BONUS: Liquid bricks. 🙂

Again, keep things simple and don’t over think the Challenge. I don’t think you can ever fully prepare for a GRC. That’s part of their beauty. They are all unique and they are all challenging. To reach true good livin’, you’ve gotta first get through the suck. It’s all part of it, so just embrace it. Pack everything that you need, but only what you need.

Are you prepping for a Challenge? What gear do you plan to pack? Let us know in the comments below.


GORUCK ChallengeAbout GORUCK Challenge:

The GORUCK Challenge is a positive extension of GORUCK’s goal to bring people together: miltary/non-military, men/women, young/old. Our Special Operations Cadre teach every class what a team feels like, how to stay cool under stress, and why camaraderie in Special Forces is so high. In our estimation, people are good, and capable of much more when they work together, for each other. To learn about Mud Run Maniac’s GORUCK Challenge experience, go here →


100 Ruckin Mile Challenge: October 2015

Join  ruckin maniacs in the 100 Ruckin Mile Challenge!

It’s baaaack!

A huge part of any challenge is always sharing your progress and pitfalls with the community and encouraging others to persevere.

Welcome to the second edition of the 100 Ruckin Mile Challenge. This goal of this challenge is to ruck with bricks for the month of October and to reach a minimum total of 100 miles by the end of the month. If you never rucked with a bag of bricks before, it will take some getting used to, but trust me it will grow on you. By the time the Challenge is over, you’ll wonder what’s missing when you leave the house without your ruck. The 100 Ruckin Mile Challenge is not a race, it’s a challenge. The goal is to finish – and finishing is truly epic.

The Rules:

  1. How: You may accrue miles by running and/or walking.
  2. Limits: Borrowing from GORUCK Challenge, we’ll need to set some parameters by weight as follows: 150 pounds or over, a minimum of three bricks or 15 pounds must be carried in each ruck; less than 150 pounds: a minimum of two bricks or ten pounds must be carried in each ruck. Note: GRC requires 6 bricks and 5 bricks respectively.
  3. Accountability: to be eligible for prizes, you must record your miles on the daily mileage tracker form here. Mileage must be submitted by 11:59 PM on the day you rucked in order to be counted towards your total.
  4. Time: You have until October 31 at 11:59 pm to complete the 100 Ruckin Mile Challenge and earn your patch.
  5. Winners: First to 100 miles – male/female + two (2) random winners.
  6. Cost: Free + patch (optional, see below).
  7. Registration: Register here. Registration will close on Sunday, October 7.
  8. Results: I’ll post results regularly on the Mud Run Maniac Facebook Wall and here →
Submit your daily mileage here!

100 Ruckin Mile Patch

Camaraderie: #ruckahundy

A huge part of any challenge is always sharing your progress and pitfalls with the community and encouraging others to persevere. All participants are strongly encouraged to post their progress on the Mud Run Maniac Facebook Wall and/or via Twitter with #ruckahundy.

What you get for completing the Challenge…

In addition to the pride an glory of completing something truly epic, all participants who complete the 100 Ruckin Mile Challenge will be eligible to purchase an official patch. Patches are 3×2 with velcro backing and will fit very nicely on all your GORUCK gear! Cost will be $5 for pre-orders through October 15, then $10 thereafter. Pre-order yours today →

What the winners get…

The first male and female to complete 100 ruckin miles will each receive one (1) free Buddy pass to any GORUCK Challenge event. This is essentially a buy-one-get-one deal where you sign-up for any GORUCK Challenge and you get your friend in for free. That’s up to $160 value, but for those of us who’ve completed a Challenge already, we think this deal is priceless! To be eligible for prizes you must track your daily mileage on the mileage tracker form here →

More goodies from GORUCK!

Not only will the first male and female to ruck 100 miles win a Buddy Pass to a GORUCK Challenge event, on November 1, I will select two random winners (one male/one female) from all participants who continue to ruck throughout the month of October.

Not registered yet?

Register for the 100 Ruckin Mile Challenge. It’s free! →

GORUCK ChallengeAbout our sponsor:

The GORUCK Challenge is a positive extension of GORUCK’s goal to bring people together: miltary/non-military, men/women, young/old. Our Special Operations Cadre teach every class what a team feels like, how to stay cool under stress, and why camaraderie in Special Forces is so high. In our estimation, people are good, and capable of much more when they work together, for each other. To learn about Mud Run Maniac’s GORUCK Challenge experience, go here →


My GORUCK Challenge Experience: Why Would Anyone Do This?

Why would anyone do this?

GORUCK review

That’s a good question.

It didn’t take long. It happened during the “Welcome Party.” We were less than an hour into what would turn out to be an 11 hour-long ordeal…but after 45 minutes of lunges, commando crawls and breakneck “bounding overwatch” 3-5 second sprint drills (on your feet – sprint – hit the deck – repeat) with a 40-pound pack on my back, it was happening. My legs were turning to jelly, and the first wave of doubt hit me…

“What the hell am I doing here? What have I gotten myself into? How the hell am I going to survive this night?” 

The GORUCK Challenge: Class # 229

I wanted to write my thoughts on our GORUCK Challenge down, both for my sake and the sake of anyone else who may be interested. I’ve already found it hard to explain to people what we really went through that night. In a very, very small way, it helped me understand how soldiers must feel coming back from war to those they love.  I say that with the utmost humility – as I know the difference is huge.

As a civilian with no military background, this night was a step into another world: a trip down the rabbit hole into the realm of some of the toughest people on the planet. Nobody in our GRC team had the exact same experience that night, but we did this together and we shared the same struggles. This was my experience, and I hope to look back on this writing later to keep the memory of GRC Class #229 fresh in my mind.

“That doesn’t sound like my idea of fun.”

I’ve already heard this a few times upon relaying the tales of that night. Was I trying to prove that I’m better than friends or family who would never dream of doing this to themselves? Absolutely not. I’m not the strongest of my family and friends, and I’m not the fastest either. That certainly wasn’t going to change now as I stepped into the night with these 12 warriors at my side. For me at least, the motivation was something very, very different… but I digress.

My First Failure

My legs were jelly and I was worried.

As I gathered up my buckling legs to make one final commando crawl to our casualty in the field, the mission changed. We were in the midst of a training exercise meant to mimic a real-world scenario where “the best laid plans of mice and men” go to shit, as I’m sure is often the case in wartime. We were being forced to adjust strategy on the fly. Our assigned team leader for this mission (a member of our group of 13) handled it well. We adjusted our approach, we completed our mission, and – to my relief – I started to get my legs back.

We gathered our “coupons” up (water jugs, chains, bricks and sandbags – mostly 25-90 pound items – all redeemable for free ‘Good Livin’) onto our shoulders and began our march away from Heinz Field. I was tired, I was nervous, but I was on my feet and determined to be in it for the long haul.

Our class’ challenge was administered by a Green Beret named Cadre Dan. As the night wore on, Cadre Dan whipped together a mixture of mission training, words of encouragement, no-nonsense thoughts about our failures, and perspective on our nation’s Special Forces. The main ingredient, however, was good ol’ fashioned pain and suffering in the form of Good Livin’. Lots and lots of Good Livin’.

Our class of 13 was tasked with carrying the same extra weight (in the form of coupons) as the Friday night class… a class of 28 people. Mercifully, we were not tasked with hauling as much beer, but with our 5 cases of Iron City Beer in tow, we had plenty. Cadre Dan hinted on several occasions that we were probably hauling more pound-for-pound weight than any other team he’s run through a challenge. Not one of us doubted it, I’m sure.

So the Challenge wore on and we marched forward as a team, mile after mile, mission after mission. I’m sure most of us discovered our own strengths and weaknesses along the way. I learned I could tackle PT with the best of ‘em. Pushups? Squats? No problem. But I discovered my first failure early on: my lack of sandbag training.

GORUCK review

I was amazed at the ability of some of my teammates to haul this ungodly thing for great distances. Some of my smaller teammates and I tackled this hellspawn of a sack in tandem, but as the days after the challenge wore on, I couldn’t help but think, “How much more could I have done for my team had I trained with a sandbag?”  The question nags.

My Second Failure

We continued trucking along through our challenge. Occasionally chants of “when I say GO! you say RUCK!” would ring out. “Go! Ruck! Go! Ruck!” People would look at us as if we were insane. They were probably right.

Somewhere near the halfway mark we began our ascent up Mt. Washington. For those not familiar with the Pittsburgh area or Mt. Washington, here’s some perspective:

GORUCK review

Our ascent was up a series of roads that ran along the side of this mountain. In the hours and miles leading up to the ascent of Mt. Washington, I came to understand the value of “military grade” rucks. As an active man, I already owned a small collection of backpacks that had served me well through light to moderate duty day trips and workouts over the years. Because of this, I elected to entrust my challenge to a trail pack I already owned from a well known outfitter. This piece of equipment was tasked with soldiering my gear through this challenge.  This led to the discovery of my second failure: ruck selection.

Ok, let this be said: I’m not a paid spokesperson for GORUCK gear. I don’t yet own one of their packs (though I soon will), and prior to the challenge I would have had nothing bad to say about the trail pack I took into our challenge that day. But as the night wore on, I saw my teammates’ packs stay put as my cinch straps popped loose. I saw their zippers stay fixed as mine yawned open under the strain. I saw their shoulder straps hold strong as my stitching came undone… and I began to understand.

I wasn’t about to whine about the failure of my gear – it was no one’s problem but my own – and I wasn’t going to let it stop me. It didn’t. That being said, as the days after the challenge wore on, I couldn’t help but think, “How much energy did I expend over the course of the challenge reigning in my crumbling ruck?  How much more could I have done for my team had I brought the right gear?”  These questions nag.

Log PT & The Mountain

You have to be there for your team, you came here to get this done, so you embrace the suck, and you get it done.

I’d estimate we reached the top of the mountain just past halfway through our challenge. We were on Cadre Dan’s time – so no watches allowed, but I would have guessed 2-3 AM. If we thought the ascent was tough with our packs and coupons, we’d be begging for more of that had we known what was in store at the top. Cadre Dan chose this moment to introduce Class #229 to “Log PT.” Log PT may have been invented to destroy human souls.

For the uninitiated, Log PT involves extended rotations of common gym exercises, like shoulder presses, crunches, squats and pushups. The primary difference being that you have a 40-pound ruck on your back. And – oh yeah, I forgot to mention – your dumbbells are replaced with a giant friggin’ TREE. 10-12 miles and 5-6 hours into the night, at the top of a mountain, our Log PT session began. With it, a blurry mixture of pain, sweat, teamwork and the perseverance of human will rang out from a mountaintop field on a perfect Pittsburgh night. It sucked… and it was awesome.

At the end of this ordeal Cadre Dan took a moment to let us know: we’re probably only halfway through the Challenge, and distance-wise, we’re as far from the end point as we’d be all night. Oh, and we still had to get this shit down the mountain. Dan was kind enough to give us our only long-term break of the evening to let this all soak in. We probably got 30-40 minutes to collect ourselves. We all fueled up, filled our hydration packs, tried not to cramp up (more on that shortly) and I – for a brief moment – stared up at the stars and had my second wave of doubt, “What the hell am I doing here? What have I gotten myself into?“  It was a little different this time though. I’d already come so far… I knew I could do this.

“Embrace The Suck.”  It’s the GORUCK motto. You have to be there for your team, you came here to get this done, so you embrace the suck, and you get it done. I jumped up, started stretching my legs and prepared my mind for the second half of our Challenge.

Our descent from Mt. Washington represented what was probably the longest uninterrupted stretch of marching we’d do all night. We covered a lot of miles and I was feeling pretty good. One pack strapped to my back, one pack strapped to my front (30-40 pounds of beer) and an American flag in my hand…we were movin’. We encountered a fair number of staircases as we came down. As we descended each staircase, it became one to two team members’ responsibility to unload their coupons on their brethren and crab crawl down the steps with their pack strapped to their chest.

I’ve done crab crawls before – I’d done them this night. I’m usually not bad at them either. I felt ready to take this one for the team and started crawling… but my body had other plans. Halfway down the staircase my right calf seized up to the size of my fist in a pretty violent muscle spasm… and it hurt like hell. I gave the calf a few good punches and couldn’t help but think, “I’m holding up the team … don’t quit on me now legs! We’re in this shit together.”

This moment – to me – showed me where the team in a GRC comes into play. This is when I truly knew my fellow man had my back.  The man in front of me snatched my pack up off my chest and the man behind me started fishing around as fast as he could for some GU Gel to get me some relief. I was punching away at my calf to loosen the cramp and I was cursing at the wave of pain I was swimming in. After a few minutes, it passed and I was back on my feet… a little pissed, and really feeling like I owed these guys. I slung my ruck back on my shoulders and insisted on taking the beer bag back to plow forward. This was my last real moment of doubt that night. No way I was quitting now, and my body was just going to have to deal with that.

The Home Stretch

The home stretch began with a dip in our last of three rivers. Much like our first two river stops, it was time to run the gamut of PT drills: rucks on, waist high in the river… only this time we had our coupons. Me, with a giant trailer chain draped around my neck, and some of my other teammates saddled with coupons of their own. Time to have at it. Pushups fully submerged on the shores of The Mon, flutter kicks with our sopping wet rucks being held high above our heads. Those damn coupons! I really wish I could have heard what Cadre Dan said to the man trying to get his boat in the water! The sun was up though, and we could smell the end. For me, that helped.  We climbed out of that river, filled the hydration packs one last time and made our way to Point State Park.

GORUCK review

As we arrived at Point State Park, Cadre Dan reminded us how far we’d come, how close we were to finishing, and he gave us a moment to soak in the fact that the finish line was now less than an hour away. He took this opportunity to bring a lot of things into focus. Why were we carrying the coupons we were?  Why do these bottles have patches on them, and what should we be taking from this?  I won’t go into the details of our final hour together, because that moment and our leader’s way of reminding us what we were doing and what we were celebrating that day was something we earned together. It was special.

There’s something very primal and fundamental about pushing yourself to very limits of what mind and body can withstand.

11 hours, 21 ½ miles, 3 rivers, hundreds of pounds of coupons, and who the hell knows how many bridges after we started, we finished our Challenge together. As a team. We shared a few tales from the night, we shared a few donuts, and we shared a few beers. I was fortunate enough to have my fiancé waiting for me at the end to see me finish what I started when I hit “Sign Up” so many months ago. That too, was special.

My immediate feeling after slinking painfully into the truck after the challenge was to tell my fiancé, “if I ever say I’m gonna do this again, wrap me in a straight jacket and have me taken away.”  But as the hours and days after the challenge began to pass, the pain subsided and the pride really began to swell. There’s something very primal and fundamental about pushing yourself to very limits of what mind and body can withstand. It awakens you in a strange way. You discover what you’re made of in that moment. When you feel like you have nothing left to give but you find a way to push through for yourself and for your team…the feeling is hard to describe, but it calls you back for more.

I didn’t do this Challenge to prove that I’m better than anyone. I came in with humility and I left with even more of it. I came into this Challenge to find out what I could will myself through. What could I endure and still keep moving forward? How much could I take and keep getting up for more?  I couldn’t be happier that I chose to do this. I left the GORUCK Challenge proud and enlightened…and strangely, saddled with a need to answer some nagging questions for myself again.

Get Good Livin!

The GORUCK Challenge is coming soon to a city near you. Learn more →

frank schlatterer Frank Schlatterer is 34 year old Network Engineer from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He has completed mud runs with Ruckus, Warrior Dash, and Run for Your Lives in recent years, in addition to his accomplishment with class# 229 in The GoRuck Challenge. He plans on tackling Tough Mudder next year along with a 2nd run through The GoRuck Challenge.


5 Items You Don’t Want to Forget the Day of Your Mud Run

We’re talking cold-hard cash, the type of stuff that’ll buy you a dirty dog in Brooklyn or leave you shirtless at the craps table..

Getting ready to hit the mud run course? 

Chances are you’ll remember to suit up with the essentials like sneakers, spandex, and your orange head-band. While most of these basic necessities will make the cut into your travel bag, it’s all too common to allow some of the smaller things to escape our packing list. Here’s five items no mud runner should leave the house without:

5-things-don't-forget-mud-run-cash5. Cash

That’s right! We’re not talking Debit cards here. We’re talking cold-hard cash, the type of stuff that’ll buy you a dirty dog in Brooklyn or leave you shirtless at the craps table. Without cash, you’re bound to be the odd-man-out at the post-race festivities as very few mud runs take place within walking distance of an ATM machine. If you want more than the one free beer you get for crossing the finish line, be sure to hit the bank before the race and stock up on some Greenbacks.

5-things-don't-forget-mud-run-water4. One-Gallon Container of Water

Sure, you’ll remember to pack your soap-on-a-rope and a plush towel so you can scrub-a-dub-dub in the cold showers at the finish. But, trust me on this, cold showers are a real downer, especially when you have to wait in line for 20 minutes to share a garden hose. Do yourself a favor and bring a couple of gallon jugs of H20. After the race, run back to your car, slather, lather, and rinse down in your Poland Spring, then head back to the post-race party fresh as a summer rose.

5-things-don't-forget-mud-run-garbage-bags3. Heavy Duty Garbage Bags

After the race, you’ll want to rip off those mud-soaked clothes, but don’t be the guy that stinks up the back seat with his grimy socks. Instead, pack a few contractor bags to store your dirty gear for the ride home. Cheap bags break, so kick-in a few extra scheckles and get the good stuff like these Husky Contractor Bags (affiliate). Be sure to pack a few extra bags, as they are truly multipurpose. Learn more →

5-things-don't-forget-mud-run-id2. Identification

If there’s just one item you remember to bring with you on race day, make sure that thing is a valid ID. Without it, you’ll be unable to check-in for your race or enjoy a beer afterward. I typically run in a slick pair of board shorts like these from Billabong (affiliate). These have a single side pocket that secures tight with velcro. I seal my ID, insurance card, and my drinking money in a small Ziplock bag and slip that in my pocket for the duration of the race.

5-things-don't-forget-mud-run-car-key1. A Place to Store Your Car Key or Alarm

The last thing you want to do is lug around your car keys through the mud as even a single car key can impale you when you least expect it. Obstacles like Under Water Tunnels or barbed wire, where you must Army crawl with mud up to your nostrils, are significantly more hazardous with keys in your pocket. And if your car has an anti-theft system, you definitely want to leave your alarm key on higher ground. Before the race, instead of worrying about how to carry your car key in the mud, seal it in a Ziplock bag and hide it in a secret place such as behind your car’s fuel door, on the inner ledge of a bumper, or a few inches up the tail pipe. An even better solution is to pick up one of these magnetic key cases (affiliate) and attach it under the frame of your car.

Are there items that you can’t live without or seem to always forget on race day? Share them in the comments below!


World’s Toughest Mudder: Gear List

Mud Run Maniac at World's Toughest Mudder

There’s definitely a few other things I could have used, such as a cold weather hood, digital waterproof watch and better gloves.

Last December, I completed one full lap of the inaugural World’s Toughest Mudder event held at Raceway Park, NJ. While I was disappointed that I didn’t make my 24-hour goal, I was still pleased to have been a part of this epic mud-fest. I met some amazing people and had a lot of fun, despite the tumultuous course and frigid temperatures.

This year, I plan to run the World’s Toughest Mudder again. I’ve narrowed my goal a bit because I think it makes more sense for where I am in my life currently. My goal for the 2012 WTM is to complete as many laps as it takes to reach sunrise of Day 2. After that, we’ll see what happens.

A few people who also plan to brave through the 2012 WTM course have inquired about preparation for this 24-hour test of grit. Over the span of the next few months, I’ll let you know how I’m progressing toward reaching my new goal and what steps I will take to get there.

To start things off, I’d like to share my packing list from last year’s WTM. Sure, WTM is over four months away, but you don’t want to wait until the last-minute to gather your gear. Some of these items you may not need. This list is just what I was able to assemble without purchasing too much and by borrowing quite a few items.

  • AAA batteries
  • Advil
  • Ankle brace
  • Baseball hat (1)
  • Beer (12-pk PBR)
  • Blanket (1)
  • Board shorts (2)
  • Bucket 
  • Bungees (2)
  • Camelback (1)
  • Cargo shorts (1)
  • Compression shirts (long sleeve (4)
  • Compression shirts short sleeve (2)
  • Compression underwear (2)
  • Dri-fit short sleeve (3)
  • Earplugs
  • Extra contacts
  • Eye black
  • Flashlights (2)
  • Flask
  • Foot Warmers
  • Fruit
  • Garbage bags
  • Gloves leather (2)
  • Gloves Utility (2)
  • Glow sticks (2)
  • Hand Warmers
  • Headlamp (1)
  • Heat blankets (2)
  • M&Ms
  • Neoprene socks (1)
  • Other socks (5)
  • Phone charger (auto)
  • Pocket knife (1)
  • Radio (old school AM/FM)
  • Running tights (1)
  • Sandals
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sneaker boots
  • Sneakers (2)
  • Soap (1)
  • Spandex underwear (4)
  • Strobe (1)
  • Swim cap
  • T.P.
  • Tent
  • TM Headbands (3)
  • Toe socks (1)
  • Towels (4)
  • Trail shoes
  • Washcloth (1)
  • Waterproof bag (1)
  • Wetsuits (2)
  • Windbreakers (3)
  • Winter Hat (2)
  • Wrist wraps

In addition to these items, I packed a small cooler with a cold sub (aka: hoagie, grinder), water, and a few energy drinks. I brought a few hard-boiled eggs, cashews, trail mix, and a small first-aid kit. I was also fortunate to borrow a GORUCK Echo (the smallest model) to wear that I was able to store a windbreaker, hand warmers, a few beers and some trail mix for when I was running. There’s definitely a few other things I could have used, such as a cold weather hood, digital waterproof watch and better gloves. But I was on a tight budget, so I made do with what I was able to gather rather than purchase a lot of new items.

Have you ever endured a race like World’s Toughest Mudder? What items did you pack? What do you think I definitely need or I should definitely remove from my list?  Please share in the comments. Thanks!

The Olympic Challenge

For the Olympic Challenge, I challenge you to seek and obtain a new Personal Best in any of your training exercises. Share your new Personal Best on the Mud Run Maniac Facebook Wall.


For the next 17 days, we will witness the greatest athletes in the world each competing to be the best-of-the-best as the 2012 London Olympics are now underway. And as summer sadly grows closer to a close, mud run maniacs know that the true tests of grit are just around the corner…cold weather mud runs! The icy cold water, blustering winds, rock solid ground, frosted faces, numb fingers and toes, and frozen Under Armour. The suck.

I know, I know, the last thing you want to think about while your running along the beach with your shirt off today is the nastiness of winter. But as the Olympics are upon us, I can’t help but think about how all these bests-of-the-best earned their 17-day stays in London.

Scroll down to get right to The Olympic Challenge.

What does it take to be the best?

To be the best, the Olympian must prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. She cannot play it by ear or rely purely on instincts and natural talents. To be the best, the Olympian must push herself further where others would rather quit. To be the best, the Olympian will commit to her training at all costs.

I’m not asking you to be the best athlete in the world. But if you’re signed up for a mud run or obstacle race this Fall, I want you to start to think about where you are in your training and where you want to be when you step up to the start line. If you are seeking a personal best, like the Olympian, you too must commit to your training.

The Olympics remind us that as humans, we can do incredibly EPIC things. You have what it takes be EPIC, now it’s just a matter of doing it.

For the next 17 days, don’t just watch the Olympics, train for them. Push yourself a little harder, swim a little longer, and sprint a little faster. Push through the mental blocks and the emotional breaks and listen to your body. Your body won’t lie to you, but your mind and your emotions will. At times, they will tell you to quit, but don’t. That’s just a signal to give more effort. It’s a signal that you are about to do something EPIC if you just embrace the suck and drive through it.

You can do this. You can train like an Olympian. You can be EPIC.

mudrunmaniac-olympic-challengeThe Olympic Challenge:

When: The Olympic Challenge begins now and ends at the close of the London 2012 Olympics.

Who: Open to all Mud Run Maniacs and obstacle racers throughout the world.


  • For the next 17 days, I challenge you to seek and obtain a new Personal Best in any of your training exercises.
  • Share your new Personal Best on the Mud Run Maniac Facebook Wall.
  • Post an accompanying picture or video whenever possible and be sure to tell us what area your new Personal Best is in.
  • You are strongly encouraged to Share, Comment and Like your fellow Olympic Challengers’ posts to help motivate the group and maintain camaraderie throughout the Challenge.

Prizes: The first and most important prize is pride. The second and equally important prize is the ability to Share your new Personal Best with hundreds of mud run maniacs just like you! And because Mud Run Maniacs are my favorite kind of maniac, I will also pick a few Olympic Challengers at random over the next 17 days to win an Official Mud Run Maniac T-shirt. Woo-hoo! (Please note, t-shirts may take 1-2 weeks after the conclusion of the Challenge to ship.)

Get your friends in on the Olympic Challenge by hitting a share button below! Thanks!


Climbing the Goddamn Wall

About a month ago, I stopped blogging. I stopped posting on Facebook, I stopped Tweeting, I stopped engaging with you, the Mud Run Maniac community. I just stopped. I shut down. I hit my wall.

I pour into it like a freight train, but then…I sputter. I think. I swing and miss. I smash into the freakin’ thing like an inflatable wrecking ball.

We’ve all been there, at the wall. At Tough Mudder, I’ve stared that sucker down until I KNOW 100% I can jump and reach the top. That’s when I GO with all my might! I pour into it like a freight train, but then, a millimeter before I’m about to make my leap to Berlin Wall dominance, I sputter. I think. I swing and miss. I smash into the freakin’ thing like an inflatable wrecking ball.

Yes, it’s happened to me. It’s happened to you. It’s happened to all of us. When it happens, we don’t know why and there’s one of three main choices we can make. Option 1: Quit. Option 2: Go around. Option 3: Find a way over.

Since you’re here reading this post, I’m making the casual assumption that Option 1 is off the table. You didn’t sign-up for a mud run to run home for a box of tissues. You’re here for the long haul, for the exhilaration of not just starting something epic, but finishing it. You’re here because you don’t quit.

When I first started this blog about a year ago now, I definitely hit a few walls along the way. But early on, I always found a way to climb those suckers and get things done and continue to build the Mud Run Maniac community. But in a year, things can change dramatically…

A little about me.

In the past year, my wife gave birth to our first daughter Cecily. It’s so true how the world changes when you have a child. Nothing matters anymore except big picture things like love, nourishment, care and patience. And it all happens so naturally. It’s truly beautiful.

If there’s a reverse positive to this story, it’s that other things in your life take a rain-check or at least a backseat. I’m passionate about mud running and I absolutely enjoy engaging with the Mud Run Maniac community. But when given the choice to toss my daughter in the air, watch her crawl, read her a story, take her with me to Home Depot – OR – blog…it’s a no-brainer.

In February, I started a new job. I work in Admissions at Hunter College in NYC. If you’ve caught any of my MapMyRun posts on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll notice their usually from Central Park…it’s just a few blocks away. I work primarily in marketing and communications, finding ways to employ new media as a means to have a positive effect on enrollment. Blah, blah, blah…it’s actually a great job, and I’m really excited about it. Two issues: 1) it’s far from home (over 1:30 one-way)…2) it takes a lot of time and energy.

So, by now you’re probably saying, “Welcome to the real world Paul. Would you like some cheese with that whine?” And you’re probably right since I’m a big fan of cheese.

But I’m sharing this with you because I know it happens to you too. It’s life and it’s not going away (well, hopefully not anytime soon). So the point is if you want to continue to do the things that exhilarate you, or reduce your stress or are goddamn EPIC, then you just need to do them! I realized, tonight maybe, that I really want to finish this race, but right now I don’t have the time to get over the wall, so I’m going around it. I’ve been staring at this thing waaaaay too long and whether I can fully make it over or not doesn’t matter at this point…I just want to get on with it and get to the next obstacle. Whether it’s at a Tough Mudder or just in life…sometimes, it’s the way it’s gotta be.

So, let’s make it official…I’m back. I finally signed up for Tough Mudder TriState just now (FYI it’s 4:55am 🙂 and Round Two of World’s Toughest Mudder is back on the radar. Thanks for sticking around. And if you’re a new reader or subscriber, just chalk this up to one of the many WTF moments that are bound to come.

Mud run maniacs rock! You’re all my heroes. Now let’s get back to training for epic shit!

-Paul (aka: Mud Run Maniac)


A New Level of Fitness: Race Day Stamina

Building Up to the Challenge

…this race based stamina session requires another level of fitness…

At Hybrid Athlete we prepare obstacle athletes to dominate their race by training race day stamina. These sessions are longer than most, lasting up to 2 hours.  The workout is intense, but completed at a conversational pace with focus on continuous movement over an extended period of time. Training in this manner will prepare the body to go harder, longer and recover faster. More importantly, the mind will be required to endure beyond perceived limits of ability, revealing how you respond to adversity.

While other circuit based, AMRAP or met-con workouts have their place in an obstacle race training program, this race based stamina session requires another level of fitness. For well conditioned athletes looking to ramp up their training, give this session a go…

Save 15% on Race Day Domination Program


  • 2 Rounds
  • Jump Rope @ 60 seconds
  • 5x Bodyweight Squat
  • 5x Multi-direction Leg Swing
  • 5x Alternate Lunge (each leg)


  • 20-2, by 2*
  • Weighted Step-up**
  • Pull-up or Inverted Row***

Recover breathing and heart rate, then:

  • 3 Rounds for time
  • 12x Box Jumps
  • 24x Kettlebell Swings
  • Rest @ 30-60 sec (1-2 minutes after round 3)

3 Rounds for Time

  • 12x Burpee
  • 24x Weighted Sit-up
  • Rest @ 30-60 sec (1-2 minutes after round 3)

3 Rounds for Time

  • 12x Dumbbell Plank Row (6 each arm)
  • 24x Kettlebell or Barbell Deadlift-High Pull
  • Rest @ 30-60 sec (1-2 minutes after round 3)

2 Rounds

  • Isolated Squat hold @ 60 seconds
  • Farmers Carry @ 50 yards
  • Bear Crawl @ 50 yards
  • Run @ 200m
  • Rest 1-3 minutes

*When completing the first circuit, 20-2 by 2, you will be doing 20 weighted step-ups total or 10 each leg.  Followed by 20 pull-ups or inverted rows.  Next, repeat those exercises for 18 repetitions, then 16, decreasing by 2 each set until you complete 2 of each.  This is intended to be a grind, so stick with it.
**Add weight to the step-ups with a sandbag, weight vest, loaded pack, or by holding added weight.
***Pull-ups are intended to be strict form.  Do as many as you can until failure and finish with inverted row.

Joe VennareJoe Vennare is a successful entrepreneur and accomplished fitness professional. As the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete and Race Day Domination, Joe designs innovative fitness programming for endurance, multi-sport, and obstacle course athletes. As co-creator ofKettlebell Cardio, Joe presents instructional workshops for this nationally recognized kettlebell program and instructor certification. In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe is also a sponsored endurance athlete competing in triathlon, ultra-marathon, and adventure racing. Joe’s motivation to train and compete in endurance sports is fueled by a desire to test his physical abilities and mental toughness.

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Show Some Love for GORUCK

I have a small favor to ask…

GORUCK founder, Jason McCarthy, has posed an epic challenge to members of the GORUCK Tough family:

Help GORUCK reach 20,000 Facebook fans by Memorial Day.

Why you should help GORUCK reach 20K fans.

GORUCK is an American company founded by Green Beret Jason McCarthy that manufactures the highest quality military-grade rucks (backpacks) along with other gear built to complement the rucks. I’ve used a GORUCK for the GORUCK Challenge, 2 Tough Mudders, a 10K mud run, a 15K mud run and in my daily workouts. I can honestly say, the bag is only getting better with use, and it’s a product I wholeheartedly stand behind.

What it means to under-promise, over-deliver.

GORUCK is also the company behind the GORUCK Challenge, which promises “8-10 hours, 15-20 miles, good livin” and ALWAYS over-delivers. $10 of every GORUCK Challenge entry fee benefits the Green Beret Foundation. I completed my first Challenge last November in Washington, D.C. , and my relationship with the GORUCK Tough family is now something I truly cherish. The GRT family routinely looks out for one another with everything from lending a ruck for a Challenge to fundraising for a fellow GRT’s son or daughter’s chemo treatments. It’s really an amazing and inspiring group of which you can be a part by completing a GRC.

One last thought.

If you’ve been around the Mud Run Maniac site for a while, you’ve probably noticed that GRHQ has been instrumental to the growth of our community. They’ve shared unique WOD’s on the site like those from Cadre Lou and Cadre Beaux, provided GRC prizes like the 20% off promos for the 100 Ruckin Mile Challenge, and have ulimately continued to help us get folks excited about taking on new challenges. By liking GORUCK on Facebook, you are not only helping the GRT family, but more importantly, you are helping spread awareness about a company that consistently adds value to our mission to do epic things.


If we help GORUCK reach the 20K goal by Memorial Day, I’ll enter you in a contest to win some GORUCK gear, on me. Just shoot me an email at confirming you sent some love GORUCK’s way.

-Paul, aka: Mud Run Maniac

Paul, please show your support for GORUCK by giving them a quick thumbs-up on Facebook!

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Injury Xchange Vol. 2: Runner’s Knee Explained and What to Do About It

Understanding Runner’s Knee

A runner with kneecap pain will quickly realize how important it is to keep the articular cartilage of the patella and the knee joint healthy.

Cross training is the way to go if you want to get fit and strong and prepare for your next mud run. Unfortunately, the incidence of Runner’s Knee for us multi-sports athletes is high as it is currently the #1 reported knee injury for runners over the age of 20 years old. In the sports medicine world, Runner’s Knee is diagnosed as either:

  1. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, which occurs when a runner experiences pain in the front of the knee involving the kneecap or patella, or
  2. Chondromalacia, which occurs when damage to the articular cartilage on the backside of the kneecap is suspected.

Signs and Symptoms of Runner’s Knee

Because of the high number of reps of knee bends associated with mud racers and runners, the articular surfaces of the knee become common locations of damage and pain. A runner with kneecap pain will quickly realize how important it is to keep the articular cartilage of the patella and the knee joint healthy. Abnormal biomechanics and high mileage commonly associated with distance runners will also result in tight IT bands and knee inflammation.

The tissues potentially injured with Runner’s Knee can include the patella tendon, the IT Band, the patellofemoral ligaments, the articular cartilage of the kneecap/knee, the patella fat pad, the quad tendon and the many bursas located around the knee. In addition, the vastus medialis muscle, the most distal and inner of the quad muscles, will usually become weak with any patella injury. With this inner quad weakness and resulting tightening of the outer knee structures, the laterally tracking patella pathology worsens.

The major symptoms of Runner’s Knee include:

  • Possible history of Osgood Schlatters disease or patella injury.
  • Noticeable atrophy or weakness of the quadriceps muscle when compared bilateral.
  • A complaint of weakness when running up hills and pain with an associated sensation of “giving way” around the knee when running down hills.
  • Discomfort and pain anywhere around the patella with prolonged sitting and/or activities involving resistive knee extension such as running and jumping.
  • Joint swelling may occurs after running.
  • “Crunching” and clicking sensation from behind the kneecap with squatting motion.  This may or may not be accompanied by pain.

Professional Treatment for Mudders with Runner’s Knee

  • Be consistent with the warm-up phase of the entire lower extremity.
  • Biomechanical analysis of the lower extremities bilaterally is an easy way to determine specific mechanical issues that are contributing to the Chondromalacia. Common factors are:
    • Leg length discrepancy
    • Poor lower extremity and low back flexibility
    • Excessive foot pronation or supination
    • Quad weakness
    • Weak abdominal musculature
  • Consistent use of rollers and massage to the entire thigh area including the lateral thigh, groin and hamstring muscles.
  • Implementing aggressive quad strengthening exercises that are pain-free with minimal patella grinding or noise present.
  • Full flexibility of the lower extremity and low back. The hip flexors, the IT band, the calves and, believe it or not, the big toe are commonly overlooked areas for mudders with chronic Runner’s Knee.
  • Aggressive manual therapy and modalities to decrease the pain while increasing the mobility of the soft tissue associated with the patella.
  • Ice, ice, ice….immediately after any activity.  

Asking the Right Questions Like a Pro

Here’s what a smart pro athlete would ask his/her sports medicine specialists to ensure a fast and safe return to cross training:

  1. Does my mechanics and/or injury merit the need for orthotics?
  2. How badly damaged is the cartilage on the back of my kneecap and are there any activities that I need to avoid as I rehab this injury?
  3. What factors, such as poor flexibility or quad weakness, do you consider to be the main reasons for my injury?
  4. Is there a specific exercise(s) that I need to avoid in order for me to stay very active & healthy?
  5. To assist my efforts to return to cross training, do you have a detailed written rehabilitation protocol to assist my therapist and me?

Elite Sports Medicine Tips To Avoid Runner’s Knee

  • Common Sense – Clearly looking at both the changes with your workouts and your footwear can solve the mystery of kneecap pain 60% of the time.
  • Find the Real Problem – Kneecap pain is usually caused by a mechanical problem elsewhere in the body.  Start looking above, below, behind and in front of the kneecap to see if the Runner’s Knee is more of the symptoms not the source of the problem.
  • Change Now & Stay the Course – Scar tissue associated with patella injuries doesn’t just go away.  Plan on finding the problem, making the necessary changes and then stick to that plan for the long haul.
  • Ice is Your Friend – I preach this sermon often but it’s for good reason:  Ice hurts but it’s exactly what you need for this injury.  You need ICE and lots of it.
  • Father Time Has a Bum Knee – Flexibility typically decreases with age…..unless we spend the time to improve it.  Stretching takes a huge amount of stress off your knees, patella’s and low back. Get rid of the “I’m too busy to stretch” excuse.  Start stretching NOW and make your patella pain a thing of the past.

Mike Ryan FitnessMike Ryan, PT, ATC, PES is the Head Athletic Trainer/Physical Therapist for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL and a 6 time Ironman triathlete. Mike is the founder of, a free sports medicine resource dedicated to keeping mature athletes healthy & active.


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Lessons on Good Livin’: Inside the GRHQ with Sophie Pollitt-Cohen No.3

GORUCK strives to bridge the gap between the military and civilian worlds. I experience it myself first-hand every day working with the Cadre. Here’s some advice on something that always highlights that contrast – the times they let me into a little bit of their world and tell stories.

How to Hear a True War Story

1. Don’t ask for one.
Regardless of how he’s feeling today about his past experiences, these stories are personal. It sounds cliche, but I do feel you have to earn hearing one. Sometimes it’s a long car ride from Boulder to Colorado Springs where no one has said anything for two hours and then he just starts talking about being a 20-year old Marine defending a bridge somewhere horrible and seeing some Green Berets with cool clothes and hair product and knowing That’s where I’ve gotta be. Or you’re walking back from the bar together and you mention you went to Stuyvesant High School and he says, “I actually had a buddy in Iraq named Stuyvesant, but he got killed.” Right place, right time kind of thing, I guess.

Dan and Polly GORUCK

Dan and Polly illustrate the perfect setting for swapping stories - beer, mountains, Ranger TV.

2. Don’t interrupt the flow.
It’s good to ask questions – just like when any friend is telling you any story about literally anything. But there are probably going to be a lot of terms you don’t know – RPG, joe, limit of advance, fuck fuck games – and you don’t want to interrupt every two seconds.  You can get the general gist of the story without knowing what everything means. Like Italian Opera, right? When I first got to GORUCK, sometimes it felt like the guys were speaking a different language. Well, they pretty much were – MilSpeak. I would say these days I’m better than I was, but it’s the same as with Italian – I can understand a lot more than I can speak. (Sidenote: I have a great idea for a website called which is like Google translator but you can type in military language and it’ll spit it out in Civilian Tongue.)

GORUCK War Stories

Google Maps is very helpful during a war story, and now my phone is able to think one step ahead. Thanks, technology!

3. For God’s sake, don’t ask if they’ve ever killed someone.
Not that it needs to be said, but it actually does need to be said. Just don’t.

4. Be normal.
If you don’t know what to say, you don’t have to say anything. Don’t overthink it.

Dan Deployed

Photo of the card we sent Dan when he went off on Deployment - his thoughts exactly, right? Hey, I've gotta be me.

GORUCK Challenge


Get the 100 Ruckin Mile Challenge Patch

100 Ruckin Mile PatchYou conquered the challenge. Now get your patch.


  • Patches are 3″x2″ (same size as the GORUCK Challenge Patch).
  • Velcro backing
  • Tri-color (red, black, white embroidery) on gray twill.
  • Shipping: Patches are on order and should arrive in the next 3-4 weeks. I’ll ship them to you as soon as they arrive!
  • Cost = $5.00 for pre-orders through October 15, $10 thereafter (includes tax and shipping).
  • Any questions, email:

Lessons on Good Livin’: Inside the GRHQ with Sophie Pollitt-Cohen No.2

Road rules.

At GRHQ, we spend a lot of time on the road. I think it says something really great about this operation that we all travel together – in very close quarters – and still love hanging out. Otherwise that’d get awkward fast. Here are some travel tips I’ve learned along the way.

Stay Organized. Even when you’re nowhere near a desk or anything remotely resembling an office.

Jasons receipts

Make any occasion a celebration.

Ascent Cake

Take all opportunities to get classy in the city…

…and appreciate nature in the country.


Always be prepared for the rare moment of downtime.

GORUCK Card Game

Get comfortable with zero personal space…

…especially if you’re with Java.


But know how to take space if you need it.

GORUCK Camping

And whatever you do, always take Brian’s instructions very seriously.

Brian Shooting practice

GORUCK Challenge


Drop-Klick Challenge

Full recap of last month’s “100 Ruckin Mile Challenge” coming soon, but in the interim, I have to say that you guys crushed the hell out of that one! We had over a 100 participants and 55 of you recorded each ruckin’ mile on the Tracker Spreadsheet. Awesome! Really ruckin’ awesome. Patches are coming soon!

This month, we’ll leave the ruck on, but add a little extra weight.


The Drop-Klick Challenge

Can you do 100 push-up non-stop? Can you run a 1,000 meter sprint in under 3:00? Can you do these both with a weighted ruck or vest? The Drop-Klick Challenge is a combination of weighted push-ups (Drop) and a weighted 1,000 meter sprint (Klick). The ultimate purpose is to 1) reach 100 consecutive (non-stop) push-ups and 2) run a 1,000 meter sprint in 3:00 (180 seconds) by May 31st. Each week, we’ll keep track of our progress (max consecutive push-ups and time of 1,000 meter sprint) to calculate a score. At the end of each week, prize(s) will be awarded to the “lowest score”. (See below for how score is calculated.)

Duration of challenge:

May 1-May 31


  • DROP: 100 consecutive (non-stop) ruckin’ push-ups.
  • KLICK: 1,000 meter ruckin’ sprint in 3:00 min (180 seconds).
  • RUCK REQUIREMENT: 150 lbs or less: 2 brick minimum/over 150 lbs: 4 brick minimum


  • Each week, the “lowest score” will win one of four (4) free passes to an upcoming Thunder Challenge – the first obstacle course created, lead and produced by US Special Forces soldiers. Thunder Challenge tests your physical and mental strength against U.S. Special Forces and Navy SEAL training where tough is only the beginning.
  • A few other goodies!
  • Pride and satisfaction 🙂
  • To participate for a prize (or just to be a badass), you must track your daily progress and record your score on the Drop-Klick Challenge Tracker spreadsheet. I’ll post this at the start of the Challenge.


Click to see how scoring works.

To calculate your score:

  • Record your drop: perform your maximum consecutive (non-stop) ruckin’ push-ups and record your total on the chart
  • Record your klick: time your 1,000 meter ruckin’ sprint and record your time on the chart
  • Divide your klick by your drop. This is your score. The lower, the better. Easy.

Example: You perform a total of 50 consecutive push-ups. Your 1,000 meter sprint time = 3:30 or 210 seconds. 210/50 = 4.2. You have a score of 4.2.


Personally, I’ve never trained for either a 1,00o meter dash or 100 consecutive push-ups. If you have experience, please share your tips and tricks with the group. Remember, the lowest score each week will win a prize, so be sure to record your progress each day.


Why not?

Join the Drop-Klick Challenge Group on Facebook!

Special thanks to Thunder Challenge for providing prizes for this EPIC event!

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It’s Time to Change Course

The MudRunManiac website has enabled me to share my passion for mud running with thousands of folks looking for an excuse to have fun and get filthy. In ways, I’ve positioned myself as a spokesperson for this niche that has rapidly navigated itself to the edge of mainstream. As an advocate of filthy fun, I believe I have a responsibility to share not only the awesome aspects of mud running, but also the parts that really need improvement.

If you haven’t heard the news, this past weekend we were saddened to learn that we lost one of our own. Tony Weathers died while he was participating in the Original Mud Run held in Fort Worth, Texas. His body was recovered in the Trinity River crossing early Sunday morning. Known to his friends as “Weatherman,” Weathers was an elite athlete who could run a mile in under 5 minutes and was a regular in a twice-a-week “boot camp” class. An exact cause of death has yet to be determined

Now in its 14th year, the Original Mud Run is held annually in Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston. The race features a competitive and non-competitive division. Participants of the competitive division are required to wear “boots and utes”: a military-style boot with “some combination of leather and mesh” and “camouflage utility trousers or long pants.”The format of the Original Mud Run is similar to that of Tough Mudder, as participants must run through mud and conquer a series of obstacles to complete the race. Obstacles include, “Gorilla Ropes,” a 25-foot span of monkey bars set over a mud pit; “Leap of Faith,” an “8-ft platform positioned over a mysterious depth;” and “The English Channel,” described on the run’s site as “a very long stretch of water.” Details about the race are scare on the Original Mud Run’s website; however, the site claims to reveal all in its Dirty Laundry Newsletter for subscribers.

These types of tongue-in-cheek scare tactics and lack of details are commonplace in the mud running niche, as there is currently little in the way of regulation when it comes to providing mud run participants with accurate and detailed descriptions of obstacles and course layouts. Most events proclaim at least one “mystery obstacle” that is kept secret until race day, which helps create a last-minute buzz on an event’s social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Personally, the lack of details about a mud run and the excitement and anticipation leading up to a race helps keep me engaged and talking about the event. However, while I enjoy the lighter side of mud running, I also understand that there is a very serious risk involved, which is most often represented by a death waiver that all event participants must sign. While I realize the hazards of mud running, I also put some confidence into the event organizers who are responsible for ensuring that risk factors are minimized.

Many mud run sites will list the finer, more grave, details of their event in an FAQ section. Here’s a look at the Original Mud Run’s FAQ section:

Q: How far apart are the obstacles, will I be running long distances before I get to an obstacle?

A: Each course is different; we try to design the course so the furthest you will run is about 1.17 miles during the first part of the race just to spread people out so they won’t get backed-up on the first obstacle. Other than that there will not be more than about a half a mile between obstacles. 

Q: Do I have to know how to swim in order to participate?

A: No although it is recommended. There might be areas on the course that require you to swim but there will be guide ropes and lifeguards in those areas. There will also be alternate routes for those who do not want to swim.

Some finishers of the Original Mud Run are frenetically pointing fingers at the event for Weathers death, suggesting that this year’s race was disorganized and inadequately prepared for a large turnout of participants. Here’s what a few runners had to say on the mud run’s Facebook page after learning of the Weather’s tragedy:

(M.W.) I had the same experience and I was in the competitive division. It had NOTHING TO DO with [not] being able to swim 75 yards. It [had] to do with the NUMBER OF PEOPLE ALLOWED IN THE WATER AT ONCE. Panic-stricken drowning people were crying and terrified pulling people under the water, INCLUDING MYSELF. I was dragged under and thank God my boyfriend was able to see that and save me. This was horrible. I’ve talked to the news and will continue to do so.

(C.C) I had fun but the entire thing was completely chaotic. 2 1/2 hour wait at packet pick up with about 6-8 volunteers registering hundreds of people is insane. As many runners as they have and only two days for packet pick up of course it will be jam packed, under 10 people signing all these people up is ridiculous. There was no direction on the course and only a handful of volunteers.

(M.G.B.) My first time I wore camp pants & boots…..the boots were like 100lb weights on my feet & was impossible to actually swim & I’m a swimmer. This past Saturday I wore shorts & tennis shoes & the swimming was a cinch…no issues at all for me! It does make me very sad that do many people had such problems & issues with the run. I can say if I didn’t know how or was a poor swimmer I would not do the river. It is a good stretch across.

(J.C.) When I got to the portion of the race where we had to enter the water, we couldn’t get in immediately because there were too many people entering at once. Upon entering and starting swimming to the other side, there was a guy struggling. He was a tall guy in a red shirt and there were a group of guys pulling him back to the side that we just got in. That was a difficult task though because there was a large group funneling into a small entrance to cross.

The comments are unsettling and whether or not Weathers’ death can be attributed to these conditions may never be determined. The mud running niche is growing at a record pace and we will continue to see growth of the smaller mud runs as they attempt to carve out their piece of the pie. Unfortunately, for some events the sport is simply multiplying too fast for their own good, while others are cutting-back on adequate safety and staffing in order to stay in the game. Whatever the case may be, the safety of participants is currently not the primary concern, but maybe it should be. For it’s the mudder that will keep the sport going, not the over-zealous water obstacles, the rickety rope climbs, or the shallow mud pits.  A roller coaster with a safety harness can still be the most thrilling experience of a lifetime. A few extra checks and balances on the mud run course won’t slow things down, but might just be the difference in preventing a tragedy like this from happening again. To keep this sport going, it might just be time for a change.

What do you think of this recent tragedy? Will this change the way you approach a mud run or obstacle race? Have you experienced similar safety concerns at a mud run or obstacle race?


Lessons on Good Livin’: Inside the GRHQ with Sophie Pollitt-Cohen No.1

Hello from sunny GRHQ.

Lou and Jason are at the store buying food for tonight’s BBQ, so I’ve got some time to get the creative juices flowing – meaning, of course, turn on my fight song Rack City and eat my second lunch.

Roughly 70% of my day is spent on growth of the Challenge…

This week has been all Trek all the time, as the first one is this weekend. We are excited for it, but if I say anything more about it I’ll probably wake up murdered. While the Challenge will always be my first love, it’s been exciting to move towards new events, offering insight into different aspects of the Special Operations community. I’m especially excited for Selection in Jacksonville this summer, because it combines my loves of GORUCK Events and sitting on the beach while other people suffer.

I’m Sophie, and I’m the Director of the GORUCK Challenge. Roughly 70 percent of my day is spent on growth of the Challenge – working with our partner gyms, helping bring new Cadre into the fold, etc. The rest is spent overseeing the day-to-day, like figuring out which Cadre will lead which Challenges.


Final route review at the hotel in NYC

Today I’ll debunk a few myths about life at GORUCK.

Myth: GRHQ is full of Green Berets eating steak, doing pushups under their desks, and polishing their pistols while taking shots of Jack Daniels.

Truth: Yes, there are some badass dudes at GRHQ, but it’s probably not the muscle-fest everyone thinks it is. Yes, we have a lot of fun and drink beer, but we also are all about buckling down to work, and we are passionate about what we do. I think people would be the most surprised about how much actual work goes on here. My favorite days are the ones that turn into nights – where the Good Ideas Club comes together over pizza and beers. Ask Brian about when we hit up the clubs of DC before his 5 AM flight.


Jason brushing Java's teeth - a common scene at GRHQ

Myth: Cadre are chosen via a mythical process in the vein of the cutting of the Gordian knot, the sword in the stone, or Voldemort marking Harry Potter.

Truth: Some of the Cadre were introduced to us by other Cadre who were already here, but plenty are just guys who heard about the Challenge, thought it sounded like a good time, and sent us an email. After getting that minor Special Operations background dealie out of the way, it comes down to personality and how they lead Challenges. If they can hang with Lou but not with me – or vice versa – it’s probably not going to work out. Our participants come from all walks of life, and Cadre have to be able to hang with every type. They’ve got to have a schtick, too – that standup routine that keeps people smiling even though they’re cold, wet, and carrying some heavy-ass coupon. If you’re wondering what I mean by schtick, refer to anything Beaux has ever said or written.


LA route recon with Beaux

Myth: Cadre fly-in 2 hours before a Challenge in a Blackhawk and drop down with a ka-bar between their teeth ready to ravage the city.

Truth: Challenge weekends are a ton of fun – like when Lou and I had lunch in Charleston with my cousins or when Beaux showed Polly and me the, um, scenery of Hollywood nightlife – but there are also plenty of unglamorous hours spent at FedEx. To start a 1 AM Challenge class, the Cadre arrive in the city by noon. They spend six hours doing route recon, a boots-on-the-ground review of the route we made here at HQ. Then they hit up FedEx to print out the all-important waivers, get the gear, etc. Ask Patrick about getting locked in a FedEx during a tornado, only a couple hours before the Challenge. Then they’ll hit up dinner somewhere and take a very glamorous combat nap at their hotel. Then it’s Challenge time. After the first class, they crash at their hotel for a combat nap – six hours if they’re lucky- and then another Challenge. When the second class is over, they jet to the airport to go home and hopefully not call me to tell me the police shut down the Challenge. It’s fun, but it is exhausting. (Sorry, I mean it would be for us humans.)


Lou and FedEx have had a long romance

I hope I didn’t crush anyone’s vision of what life here is like. Tune in next time, and hope to see you all at a Challenge soon!

GORUCK Challenge


GORUCK Challenge WOW: Can Crusher by Cadre Lou

Cadre: Lou

I’m not a certified trainer by any means, so do the best that you can do and have fun with this sh*t. If you like this basic one and want more I’ll post one a step above next time

Can Crusher

Warm-up as needed, then:

  1. 1/4 mile sprint outdoors (or on a treadmill if needed)
  2. 50 push-ups, then tire flips with 350-lb tire x5, then 50 pushups, then flip tire x5 back to start point
  3. Chin-up station: 20 reps burpee to chin-up without kipping
  4. Clean-and-press 110-lbs to front military press to rear squat and rear military press (Totals=10 squats, =20 military presses)
  5. 20 box jumps at 80% of max height
  6. 100 flutter kicks

Take a short rest and drink water. Complete a minimum of 3 rounds.

Key Points

  • I don’t watch my time because with CrossFit you should always be pushing the envelope. I also prefer proper form over being sloppy.
  • Use whatever weight and reps that fit your level of fitness and continue to build yourself up and crush beer cans with your ass cheeks!

Enjoy and keep me posted!

GORUCK Cadre Lou

About Lou:

GORUCK Challenge Cadre Lou has been in the army since George Washington was a private. He’s been on sensitive operations around the globe since Jason (GORUCK Challenge Founder) was still riding his big wheel. He lives in North Carolina and loves watching his kids play sports.




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Do Cadre Lou a solid by hitting one of those share buttons above to tell your friends about this week’s GRC-WOW! Thanks!

GORUCK Challenge

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Maniac Monday WOD: Repeater

This week, Rich Vos, founder and head coach of CrossFit Hustle, is back to bring you another Maniac Monday WOD named after one of my favorite Fugazi songs:

Rich Vos, CrossFit Hustle

Rich Vos, Owner & Head Coach, CrossFit Hustle and Northern Kentucky Mud Run Training


Complete 5 Rounds for time:
  • 5 Squat Cleans @ 155
  • 10 Pull-ups
  • 20 Double-Unders

Before you begin this WOD…

  • Do you know how to do a proper Squat Clean, Pull-up, and/or Double-Under? If not, get a quick refresher over at the official CrossFit website here.

Craving more CrossFit Hustle?

For more WODs from Rich and to check out his awesome facility, visit!


Got a question for Rich, leave it in the comments below. And please, take a second to share this WOD with your friends. Thanks!

CrossFit Hustle