As a child, you grew up being told to keep out of the mud. As an adult, the option is yours: stay out…or jump in. Hmm. Decisions, decisions.

Mud runs are all the rage for the fittest of fit. It challenges the mind and the body in a way that’s totally different than being in a gym. Plus it makes you feel just a tad rebellious after all those years of being told “no”.

For those who are ready to embrace the challenge, here are tips from Carl Bolm, owner of The Battlegrounds at Cedar Lake’s mud run located in St. Louis, Mo. He definitely knows mud, especially how to conquer a course with just a few helpful hints.

Less is more

Less clothes mean less to weigh you down. You might stand out from the crowd when you have on the equivalent of a very tight bathing suit, but you’ll be ahead of the pack when the mud starts clinging to your clothes. On the other hand, you should wear something that protects your knees since they are definitely necessary in mud runs. Best accessory:  we recommend lightweight shoes tied as tightly as possible. Some recommend duct taping them to your ankles to make them stay on. We don’t. Ouch!

Teamwork rules

While mud runs are chaotic, exhausting and challenging, they also help you bond with others to survive. These courses offer team-building opportunities (that’s why, according to, more than 43% of runners sign up with a group of friends) that you can’t find anywhere else. Need a lift over a wall? Ask your strongest friend for a push. Want to help your team’s straggler who can’t find his submerged shoe? Jump in and find it with him. Everyone needs allies to make it through the muck.

Save your strength

Don’t start at a fast and furious pace you can’t maintain. Remember when you went to an amusement park as a kid, and all the wimpy rides were at the front? That’s how mud runs are staged too. You haven’t seen the best (or the worst) of the obstacles until closer to the end. By then you’ll be wishing you hadn’t run so fast to avoid a slow group of runners.

Just say no

If you find yourself faced with an obstacle that is frightening or overwhelming, then don’t feel pressured to try it out. Getting hurt by something out of your comfort zone isn’t necessary. Plus you want to be well enough to enjoy the after party at the end of every mud run.

Be prepared

When you are done, how are you going to get home? There’s no way you’ll want that oozy mud in your car. Bring fresh clothes, towels, washcloths, different shoes (many throw theirs out after the race), soap, shampoo and a garbage bag for your muddy gear. Mud runs often have showers, so be prepared to make new friends as you wash away mud from places you didn’t even know existed.

No matter what age you are, mud is fun. When you combine mud with a competitive race, then you have created the perfect day for every fitness buff you know. Your sense of accomplishment after tackling a mud run is exquisite. The only better feeling than that? A clean outfit plus a nice, cold beverage.

Carl BolmCarl Bolm

Carl Bolm is an entrepreneur, a humanitarian and a fitness enthusiast. He is the owner of The Battlegrounds at Cedar Lake’s mud run, the Midwest’s only permanent mud run and obstacle course. The five-mile mud run features more than 30 military-themed obstacles for those who are physically and mentally fit. The Battlegrounds’ next run is Sat., May 3, and it is the host of numerous runs and corporate team building opportunities throughout the year. For more information, call (314) 569-3005, email or visit the website at


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