By 11 a.m. Saturday, there was barely any mud left on the 5K Muddy Dash course at Balloon Fiesta Park. Despite the complaints of no mud and excessive parking fees, participants could still be seen smiling and having fun while running through the obstacles at the park.
“Where is the mud?” event-goers kept asking. “They should call it the Dirt Dash,” another was heard saying. Even though there was heavy rainfall the night before, almost all the course was bone dry by late morning as the sun beat overhead, evaporating what was left of the muddy puddles throughout the park.
The course started at the north end of Balloon Fiesta Park, where racers met up with family and friends before embarking on the five-kilometer adventure. The first portion of the course had racers heading south on a flat straightaway next to the grass where hot air balloons will be taking off from in October. After jumping, hurdling or falling over the first obstacle, racers looped back around through two more obstacles before ascending a dirt hill near the mountain bike skills course.
With all the dirt and rain, many people expected more mud on this part of the course, but it was not to be. Racers climbed a rock wall and descended a rope ladder before having to army crawl through the hard dirt under some low-hanging ropes. There was a small puddle at the end of the army crawl, but not enough for everyone to get dirty. After crawling through a short tunnel, racers swung over another hard dirt patch on the rope swing and then headed up to the top of a small arroyo. When they descended into the wash, there was finally a good-sized patch of mud for racers to play in.
Several participants stopped at the bottom of the gully to throw gunk at each other or just lay around in it to cool off and get what they came for – mud. They then went up and over the hill before dashing back down toward the grassy area. Before crossing the finish line, racers whirled through a giant foam pit where several kids stopped to dive through the bubbles, finally getting completely covered in soap and wet dirt.
Racers were given a finishing medal, had pictures taken and then headed over to the hoses to rinse off before calling it a day. A food truck was also available for those looking to put the calories back on that they just burned. In the end it was a win for everyone who participated, getting in some exercise and outdoor fun they wouldn’t have experienced had they not showed up.