Beqir and friends at the Mud Factor finish line.

Last Saturday we ran our first obstacle course mud run. What’s that? The Mud Factor calls it a hardcore 5K obstacle mud run. What do I call it? A metaphor for life.

Obstacle courses are used by the armed forces to familiarize recruits with the kind of tactical movements necessary for combat. Obstacle courses are fantastic tools for physical conditioning, encouraging teamwork, and testing problem solving skills.  While it’s a hoot to get filthy in the mud as you scale walls, crawl over barrels, climb rope walls, and slip and slide in giant mud pits in and around wires, the obstacle course really makes you stop and think.

Robin scaling an obstacle with her daughter Libby.

The team of runners was made up of a diverse group of people with different fitness goals: From Robin, 56, who lost 85 pounds over the past year and this hardcore event was her second 5k race in 6 months to Beqir who has been through countless obstacle courses during his ten-year stint as a Special Forces Sergeant.

Beqir helping Emily pick a strategy to get up and over that wall.

Whether you are an obstacle course novice like Robin or veteran like Beqir, there is something about snake crawling through the mud that reflects your behavior in everyday life. The obstacle course is a mirror to our decision-making, risk-taking, and effort level we put into our lives, jobs, families, and goals everyday. Do you dive in and give it 110%? Do you approach with caution and inch your way in? Do you hold back afraid to try?

Photo courtesy of Mud Factor

These muddy obstacle runs have soared in popularity over the past few years. The Tough Mudder, the Spartan Run, the Warrior Dash, The Mud Factor, The Primal Mud Run, The Death Run. What is so deliciously gratifying about getting muddy and facing your fears with scary obstacles?

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” The obstacle course represents those difficult life moments. If you want to know how you handle physical and mental challenges, sign up for one. Are you ready?

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