By Pete Williams
Like most people, Marshall Chmura is blown away by the explosive growth in obstacle racing.
As the race director of the upcoming Mud Crusade, which takes place April 21-22 at the Dade City Motocross/Pasco County Fairgrounds near Tampa, he’s preparing for a crowd of 5,000 athletes for the inaugural event. More than 4,300 have registered.
“We built obstacles initially thinking 2,000 people but quickly realized we had to adjust for bigger numbers,” Chmura says. “We don’t want logjams at obstacles because the last thing you want when your blood is pumping is to get stuck and have to wait.”
That means waves will be restricted to 250 each and obstacles placed to minimize congestion. As for the course itself, there’s a map at mudcrusade.com, but Chmura is keeping the specifics of the obstacles secret. He will say that there will be water obstacles but no water deeper than four feet.
“Due to the length of the course (5K), we can’t compete with a longer event like a Tough Mudder and won’t try to,” he said. “But this is not going to be a walk in the park. At the same time, we’re trying to promote the event and grow the industry and have people come out and have a good time.”
Chmura, who is based in Jacksonville, comes from an athletic family that includes older brother Mark Chmura, the former Green Bay Packers tight end who is lending his name to the event and pitching in occasionally. Most of the workload falls to Marshall and Matt Chmura, who like Mark all fall in the 6-foot-6 range.
“There were a lot of meat and potatoes eaten in our family growing up,” says Marshall Chmura, who is 6-foot-7. “We’re never tough to pick out of a crowd.”
Like most obstacle races, Mud Crusade charges $10 for parking, though there is no fee for spectators. The course will be mostly on the Dade City Motocross property, taking advantage of terrain and obstacles used for dirt bike racing, but also include part of the Pasco County Fairgrounds. The company will continue the motor racing theme in September with a Mud Crusade on the property surrounding Atlanta Motor Speedway. There also are events scheduled for Memphis (Nov. 3) and Miami (Dec. 1-2).
“We’re totally focused on the Tampa race right now,” Chmura says. “We want to give all runners and spectators a great time and deliver an awesome event.”
(Listen to an interview with Mud Crusade race director Marshall Chmura on The Fitness Buff Show HERE:)