By Pete Williams
It’s reaching the point in Florida where there might be fewer running events without mud than those featuring mud pits and Survivor-style obstacles.
We reported on this trend a month ago and at least three races have been added to a busy schedule that already includes multiple Muddy Buddy events, the Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, and three Dirty Duo races.
The Down and Dirty National Mud Run Series is the latest entry into this increasingly crowded field. The series will feature nine events this year, including a May 1 race at Zoo Miami, where Muddy Buddy staged its first event in November. Muddy Buddy recently announced a year-end race in Punta Gorda on Dec. 4. The series, owned by Competitor Group, also will return to Zoo Miami on Nov. 20 and bump up the date of its longstanding event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista from Mother’s Day weekend to April 9, which will kick off this year’s proceedings.
Unlike the two-person Muddy Buddy event, the Down and Dirty is a straight-up 5K and 10K. Compared to the Muddy Buddy entry fee ($170 per team plus the dreaded mandatory Active.com ransom), the Down and Dirty is relatively inexpensive at $50 or $60 for early registration for the 5K and 10K, respectively, though it tacks on its own $5 service charge. (The Active.com evil influence continues to spread!)
Then there’s the Champions Mud Bash with an event in St. Cloud on June 18 and Nov. 5 at a South Florida location to be announced. Price? A whopping $69 (plus Active.com ransom) for a three-mile run. Ouch.
Tough Mudder seems to be taking its time finalizing its Florida event. After vague talk of a date in late 2011, the Tough Mudder site has scheduled an event Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 “within two hours drive of Tampa,” according to its Web site. Given the size and scope of the event, that means Tough Mudder almost certainly will use the Triple Canopy Ranch in Lake Wales (site of last month’s Warrior Dash).
That’s because Muddy Buddy already has the Red Neck Yacht Club in Punta Gorda reserved for that same weekend. Which means the events have become so commonplace that they’re doubling up on dates and venues. A sure sign of market saturation.