This past weekend I had the chance to return to King's Domain in Oregonia, OH for the second Mud, Guts, & Glory
race. Their first race was an incredible experience, so I was excited to return. You can read about the course and that first experience here on Travlete.com
. Part of that excitement was due to the incredible people and to see some of the changes they made to the course. It was great to see some of the suggestions the first group of us to run the course had made put into action and the creativity of the MGG team as they developed their new obstacles and their own penalties for non-completion of obstacles. I said it before, and I'll say it again, if you're interested in obstacle racing, you need to check out this race the next time they hold an event because they do it right and only get better each time they hold an event. Since it's a permanent course, they also offer training opportunities that you can take advantage of - which again, I would highly recommend.
Since I reviewed the course the last time, I really want to focus on the overall experience and environment of this race. Unfortunately, not everyone from the first event was able to join us for a second round, but it was great to reunite with the superhuman, obstacle racing machine that is Junyong Pak, Jeff Cain of onmywaytosparta.com,
and meet for the first time Adrian Bijanada of OCRGear.com
. Any chance you get to spend some time with people like that with such a passion for the sport, you already have a pretty great weekend on your hands.
Not all organizers understand that putting on an obstacle race isn't about necessarily putting on the most challenging event possible or tailoring to the most elite athlete. Now granted, there are a good number of people (myself included) who will seek out the most challenging event possible, but for the vast majority of obstacle racers that want to get out, be challenged, and have a great time, likely with a group of friends. It's a delicate balance that not many races have successfully found, but Mud, Guts, and Glory has managed to do just that. Not only do they run a successful race, but they do it with passion - for the race and for the athletes - which puts them in any even more select category of event organizers. It's not often that the primary organizers of the race spend all day out at the event congratulating finishers and talking to as many athletes as possible, assuring that they had the best experience possible.
Another true testament to the folks behind MGG are their volunteers. The first event, all of us there remarked how incredible the volunteers were and that continued to be the case here at their second event. At the fourth water station, I actually took some extra time to talk to the couple volunteering there. Ultimately, yes, I stopped in the middle of a race, but I'm glad I did. They had run the first race, but due to an injury couldn't run this time. They enjoyed the experience so much that they still wanted to come out an be involved in any way they could. After leaving them and finishing the race, I spent some time talking to other racers and spectators. Many of the spectators had similar stories as the couple who volunteered - even though they weren't able to race, they simply wanted to be around the event. I think that tells you right there that MGG has done something special.
I left Mud, Guts, and Glory extremely grateful for another great race, an exceptional experience with great people, and had the chance to continue to talk with people about Alzheimer's disease and my ultimate mission. I'd say that's the definition of glory.