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Listen up, all you mudders out there: The Dash is your chance to hit the muck running without your mom yelling at you

We’ve seen volleyball players diving in the muck to make a save, but why would anyone want to run through seven or eight mud pits over several miles for a beer at the end?

“It’s just fun,” says Justin Bankhead, the organizer for the Dirty Dash, which is scheduled for Sept. 8 in Edgewood. “The minute you hit the first mud pit, you’re not worried about your hair or your time or anything else,” he said in a recent phone interview. “You just go out there and laugh and have fun.”

The Dirty Dash is one of what Bankhead calls the “big four” down-and-dirty national series events. The Dirty Dash’s website bills the events as “a mud run obstacle course where a military boot camp meets your inner 5-year-old’s fantasy and subsequently converts boy to man and then man to swine.” The organization will host races in 11 western states this year, and the New Mexico edition will benefit New Mexico Xtreme Sports Association, which provides athletic and creative opportunities for youths.

If you go
WHAT: Dirty Dash New Mexico, a 3.5-mile obstacle course including at least seven mud pits.
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 8. Race will go off in waves starting at 9 a.m.
WHERE: Wildlife West in Edgewood
HOW MUCH: $55; Piglet Plunge is $10. Parking is free.

The “Ironman” of the genre – The Warrior Dash – has seen nearly 650,000 participants compete in 33 events this year. And the original Mud Run, started by former Marine Paul Courtaway, includes more military-style challenges such as climbing up an 8-foot tower and leaping into a pit of mud.


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Bankhead said the Dirty Dash is meant to be more family-friendly, more fun and more social than the events which often bill themselves as an “ultimate challenge.”

Oh, there will be plenty of walls to climb over or crawl under, mud hills to climb, pipes to crawl through, pipes to crawl over and under, giant slip ‘n’ slides to launch yourself down, cargo nets to maneuver, and other obstacles that are specific to the terrain. And there will be mud. Lots of mud.

“We are known for having insane mud,” Bankhead said.

For those who rushed out of the house without their morning caffeine, there will be a Red Bull Obstacle, which involves chugging cans of the energy drink in proximity to a physical obstacle. Plenty of volunteers will be on hand to help with navigation and to keep people safe.

For all the hype about racing; Bankhead said this event is more “dirty” than “dash.”

“This is really an opportunity for people to come out and have a lot of fun. Mom can run one wave, Dad can run a later wave and then they all can do the Piglet Plunge,” he said.

The Piglet Plunge is where kids (ages 2-12) can participate in a one-mile course that includes such features as the Slop ‘n Slide, the Hog Wash and the Pig Sty.

He also said organizers have gone to great lengths to ensure a good experience for all. The event will be on the grounds of Wildlife West. And while a similar type of event drew more than 18,000 people to the Edgewood area in May, the Dirty Dash will be capped at 5,000 and will be run in waves designed to ease traffic jams.

“We don’t want traffic to be a nightmare,” he said. “We want everyone to come out and have fun.”

There will also be music, dancing and other contests throughout the day. Food and drink will be available from vendors after the race.

The organization will also bring another “themed” event to New Mexico in 2013 called Color Me Rad. Color Me Rad runners don’t run in the mud, they just start out in a white T-shirt and proceed to through “stations” where blue, green, pink, purple and yellow corn starch will be thrown on them. Specifics on a date for this are expected to be released after the first of the year.