Take a five-kilometre run, then add 22 obstacles and lots of mud and water — and you have the first annual “Unbridled Mud Trials,” hosted by the Island 22 Equestrian Park Society.
These are horse people, so they know plenty about obstacles and mud. They also have 25 years of experience in running horse events at the island, near the north end of Young Road in Chilliwack.
Leave the horse at home though, and just bring your unbridled enthusiasm.
Co-organizer Andrea Meister said she had seen the Tough Mudder races and thought that a shorter, fun-focused event could be run by their club. She took her idea to fellow society member, Marnie Brown.
“Marnie’s daughter was involved in mud trials and Marnie has been organizing triathlons and other events for years,” said Meister.
That was in February of this year and the planning team has jumped through many hoops in a short time, including getting approval from the City of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley Regional District, respectively the owners and operators of the island park.
Now, the group has a website at unbridledmudtrials.com and a slick online registration site at unbridledmudtrials-eorg.eventbrite.ca. They also have a plan for the course and two months to bring it together for the Sept. 28 challenge.
And yes, they have insurance.
“We’re trying to keep the horse jump use at a minimal but we suspect to be using around five,” said Meister. “Some of these jumps are a pretty decent size, so don’t think because a horse can jump them it will be a simple step over for a human.
“It’s difficult to say how high the highest obstacle will be. We’ll be having ropes, and climbing and we could easily go a good 15 feet (about five metres) or higher.”
Meister said they’ve been keeping women and kids in mind in their course design, so there’s a balance between upper-body, core and lower-body challenges.
“We’ll definitely be having crawling obstacles — and definitely the army crawl through mud,” said Meister. “And we’ll have water, mud baths, ropes, leaps, balancing… all those fun, crazy obstacles.”
Some will be training hard for it — but not all — and that’s fine with the organizers.
“I know a couple of people who are going to jump off their couch and walk the course,” said Meister. “Our main goal is to get people to have fun in the mud. It’s kind of childish!
“We will have volunteers around, so if people need a little push we will help them out…. and if you can’t do an obstacle, it’s okay. You can go around,” said Meister. “If you do, though, you can’t win.
“This is not officially a team run but a lot of people are running as a team with family and friends,” she added. “Every runner will have a timing chip and there will be prizes for the fastest in our three age division breakouts.”
Shaun Koopman and his fellow Hope Secondary 2004 grads Chantal Richmond, Jesse Walters, Jay Booth and Ryan Henderson went in the Tough Mudder challenge at Whistler last year. Lauren Pilzner of Kelowna was their other team member.
“We had a couple of sprains, strains and sore knees — but it was a blast,” said Koopman. “They had electrical shocks and ice baths and walls to knock down. It was taking from two-and-a-half to six hours to complete. The whole team stuck together, to help each other through.
“They had water hoses, to hose off with after the race and they chartered buses to take us back to town. The bus was pretty dirty!”
For the Chilliwack event, no buses are planned, so Meister said they are encouraging carpooling to help deal with limited parking space. Parking is by minimum donation of $5 — which is the only cost for spectators, who will have viewing access to 21 of the obstacles.
Hosing may be supplied by the fire department, said Meister, but that is still in the planning stages.
Various community groups will be running concessions and Meister said proceeds from the race will help the Island 22 Society improve the trails on the island.
If you’d like to try it out, you’ve got a couple of months to train for it. Trouble is: registration is almost full, with over 400 already booked in. Organizers are looking at adding one more wave of runners — but if you want in, you should act quickly.