Tips for Rocking the Monster Mud Run

We here at Loon are stoked to be hosting the 5th Annual Monster Mud Run on July 11, a race that will feature dozens of fun and challenging obstacles, miles of shoe-sucking mud, and a Mini Monsters race for kids. You can register for the race here.

Not sure if you can hack it? Of course you can. To help answer your burning Monster Mud Run questions, we’ve asked Becky Kennedy, a past racer and high school guidance counselor, to give us some…well…guidance.

Becky Kennedy (second from left) and Team Fun Loon celebrate after the 2014 Monster Mud Run.
Becky Kennedy (second from left) and Team Fun Loon celebrate after the 2014 Monster Mud Run.

Read on to find out how Becky, a member of the New England Spahtens obstacle course racing team and long-time Droppin’ In camper, attacked last year’s race.

Loon Mountain: You’re pretty new to Obstacle Course Racing, right?

Becky Kennedy: I started running in April of 2013. Loon last year was my first obstacle course mud race, and since then I’ve done a Spartan Race. I just did one this past weekend. I also did a long one called the Polar Bear Challenge in February. It was very intense. That’s one of the toughest courses in the country. It was a 10k loop, it was snowing out, and you do as many laps as you can in eight hours. It was pretty wild.

Loon Mountain: Last year you ran the Monster Mud Run with your friends, calling yourselves Team Fun Loon. Where did that name come from?

Becky Kennedy: We called ourselves Team Fun Loon which is the Droppin’ In name. Some people progress snowboarding-wise. We progress in fun. [Editor’s note: Droppin’ In is Loon’s annual freestyle ski and snowboard camp for women, presented by Oakley.] We did the race in our Droppin’ In bibs.

Campers gather for a group photo at Loon's Droppin' In Women's Freestyle Camp in 2014.
Campers gather for a group photo at Loon’s Droppin’ In Women’s Freestyle Camp in 2014.

Loon Mountain: So back to the Monster Mud Run. What advice would you give to someone who’s considering the race, but isn’t quite sure they can do it?

Becky Kennedy: Oh my gosh, do it. Sign up and just have fun. That was my first race, so I questioned ‘Can I handle this physically?’ But you do it with friends and you realize there are all sorts of people who run those races. It’s not all fitness people that are in amazing shape. There are certainly people in great shape, but there are also people where that’s their first race. It’s not intimidating. It’s very friendly, there’s no pressure, there’s no lines of people that you’re waiting behind or that are waiting for you, so you can try everything and have fun with it. You can try obstacles a few times if you need to. Go in with an open mind and no stress, because it’s just super fun. That was the best part, even from the beginning of it: low-key, low-pressure. You don’t need any crazy outfits and you don’t need to spend a ton of money on it. Just go out there and have fun.

Loon Mountain: What was the Monster Mud Run course like?

Becky Kennedy: It was a great course. It was definitely challenging. I did it with friends so we went really slow; there were parts that we walked through so we didn’t run the whole thing, and that was great. With teamwork you could get over all the obstacles. There were really unique obstacles too, like the firehose carry under barbed wire, things like that you don’t see anywhere else.

Team Fun Loon climbs the cargo net at the 2014 Monster Mud Run.
Team Fun Loon climbs the cargo net at the 2014 Monster Mud Run.

In some of the races you see some of the same obstacles over and over. Jumping through the horse stalls, that was crazy, and jumping into the little pond – that was freezing cold, so that was fun. That’s what makes it unique. Running up the Superpipe – how many times do you get to run up the Superpipe during the summertime with a group of your friends? I liked the terrain being on the mountain. That’s fun because you get some of the natural elements there. And it’s local, which is big. It’s not really corporate. It’s people that you know and it’s at Loon, so it’s great.

Competitor's run up Loon's Superpipe.
Competitor’s run up Loon’s Superpipe.

Loon Mountain: Are there any consequences if you don’t complete a particular obstacle in the Monster Mud Run?

Becky Kennedy: If someone doesn’t complete an obstacle, there’s no penalty for it. Sometimes you have to do 30 burpees for everything you miss [in other races]. Here, you don’t. I think that could keep people away, especially if it’s their first one.

Loon Mountain: How should someone train for the Monster Mud Run?

Becky Kennedy: Oh boy. So last year I was in great shape. This year will be interesting. I think if you can work on your cardio that’s going to be good, because you’re going to be going up and down hills. That’s going to be important. Hiking would be great for that – if you can get some running in, great, but you certainly don’t have to be a runner. Body weight stuff is always good. I’m definitely not an elite athlete. If you work out, great. But you don’t have to work out to get through this course. I think that’s where the draw is for some people. You can make it as competitive as you want. You can really get a crazy workout and challenge yourself for time, and you’re going to have some good competition there. But if you want to just go and have a good time with your friends, and try things a couple times and mess around, that’s a great course for it. It’s laid back and there’s no pressure. Some races are so organized and rushed that you don’t feel like you can enjoy it.

Loon Mountain: So the Monster Mud Run has a different feel to it than some of the larger races?

Becky Kennedy: I do think some races are very corporate, whether it’s the merchandize they’re trying to sell you or you need the special shoes or you need to have this endurance drink or these different things. I don’t want to bash the other ones, but this one [the Monster Mud Run] definitely has a different feel. It’s definitely a local feel. The New England Spahtens promote running the local races because you have more say and you can talk to the race directors and it’s not something that’s corporate. It’s very accessible to have some say in it or to see what you’re doing. You also see the same faces you’ve seen before, which is nice. It’s not people coming from all over the country trying to win prize money or trying to be on TV, because some of the Spartan races are being recorded. This is more for the pure enjoyment of it.

Team Fun Loon, definitely not enjoying themselves on the course.
The members of Team Fun Loon, definitely not enjoying themselves on the course.

Loon Mountain: What about after the race? We know there will be lawn games and live music, but what if someone wants to bring their family? Is there stuff for kids to do?

Becky Kennedy: Just hanging out afterwards was one of the best parts. Just watching other people finish, and then when they did the kids race – that was awesome. Families can be involved, and you can really make it an all-day thing.

The Mini Monsters Run gives kids a chance to get muddy.
The Mini Monsters Run gives kids a chance to get muddy.

Loon Mountain: Did you have to pay for parking?

Becky Kennedy: When I did my Spartan Race, if you have a spectator it’s $20; if you want to pay for parking, it’s $10; everything costs money. That’s the opposite of the Loon race, and that’s what’s going to draw people in that have never done it. [Editor’s Note: Parking and spectating are free at the Monster Mud Run.]

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