NAVIGATION

Why Women’s Races Matter… A Weekend at Dirty Girl Mud Run

Share

20452413_race_0.05311393984863.displayIt only took 6 years of obstacle racing and a lot of putting my ego aside, however a couple weeks ago I toed the line at my first all women’s obstacle race at Dirty Girl Mud Run outside of Pittsburgh. A couple weeks earlier I was on a call with Human Movement Management the parent company of Dirty Girl Mud Run, Ugly Sweater Run, DirtyBird Mud Run (happening this weekend in Utah) and many other events. These are the guys who saved Run For Your Lives from going under a few years ago and did the same with Dirty Girl Mud Run over a year ago.

 

They presented an opportunity to me to check out their Dirty Girl Mud Run event. To say I had mixed feelings about an all women’s race would be putting it mildly. For years I have pushed for women to be on equal ground as men and honestly saw the all female race category as another device continuing to divide men and women. It’s easy for me to say I had some pretty big barriers to break down before heading to this event. However, in a year which has consisted of changing perceptions of what OCR is, I took on the personal challenge of seeing the event though a new set of lenses.

 

20625272_race_0.5485712421504152.displayThe first impression of Dirty Girl Mud Run came the day before the event, when I met with members of the staff in the hotel lobby the night before. While speaking with a staff member it became quickly apparent that many of the patrons of the hotel were racers, and all women. I asked about participation numbers and quickly was taken aback to learn Dirty Girl Mud Run gets between 4,000 – 6,000 people at events depending on the market. This stopped me in my tracks. These are serious numbers for any OCR.

 

The next morning I made my way to the race venue and watched both men and women filing out of cars. Many of the women came in groups with team shirts, and matching outfits. The biggest change was instead of seeing women holding gear for their partners it was the men holding all the gear, corralling the kids, and holding backpacks. Many men had their Spartan Race or Tough Mudder t-shirts on while supporting a spouse or girlfriend. Speaking with some of these men, a common theme popped up, their partner had been supporting them at events for years and now they had the courage to try an event themselves. This was their gateway into the OCR world.

 

20435171_race_0.9631350916235121.displayThe festival featured a Paul Mitchell booth braiding hair, Think Pink cancer awareness charity, bag check, photo ops, and all the normal features of an event. At the start, a sign proclaimed “women only”.  The start line MC was great, part of the routine he asks how many women have done an event before, then how many have this event, and finally how many are cancer survivors. The final question was the one which I took note, in EVERY wave of the day at least 5-10 women held up a hand. One course I met many women who were running with family members or friends who have overcome cancer. Some running in memory of a loved one. The event was a chance for those to celebrate life on all levels.

 

The course itself was a 5K with over a dozen obstacles. If you are looking for the most badass extreme obstacles in the industry, go to another event, however this event included obstacles accomplishable for all levels, lots of mud, some inflatables, and smiling employees and volunteers. My favorite was “Barn Burner” a huge inflatable and H2OMG a balance beam large balls swinging back and forth. The course finished with a muddy pit and finish line announcer cheering women in. The course design featured a layout that gave spectators a view of 90% of the course and allowed loved ones to follow their family members the entire way.

 

20625379_race_0.35308234183562615.displayAfter the finish line, speaking with more women a few trends appeared. For many women this was not only their first OCR but also their first 5K ever! It was the first time a race medal was put around their neck. It was great seeing groups of women posing together for photos and having their male spouses take photos. I talked to women who had done Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, BattleFrogs, Warrior Dashes, etc… and used Dirty Girl Mud Run as a way to introduce their love to friends and family. Other women just loved the event and said it was their second or third year in a row participating in the event.

 

Overall, I walked away from Dirty Girl Mud Run with a new view of an all women’s OCR. They might not be the toughest event in the world, but we have lots of choices for tough races. What Dirty Girl Mud Run offers is a nurturing environment where women can excel. It’s a judgement free zone. The event is just plan fun and allows those of us immersed in the OCR world to give back to our community by sharing our love with friends and family.

 

On a more serious note, in recent years some of the larger OCR’s have seen declines in female participation. Seeing the robust numbers of Dirty Girl Mud Run gives me hope, and who knows maybe the next Amelia Boone was at the event with her mother, or on the sidelines watching her mother. Indeed, the all women’s race has a place in our industry and an important one.

Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of DirtinYourSkirt.com. She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of MudRunGuide.com. She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
This entry was posted in Race Recap and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why Women’s Races Matter… A Weekend at Dirty Girl Mud Run

  1. For the last 3 or 4 years we been monitoring data and for a long time females held the higher percentage of participants in randomly selected mud runs and obstacle course races. I used to wonder if an all female event could sustain itself as time passed. Looks like Dirty Girl is making it happen! That is excellent.

  2. Richard says:

    Hi Margaret,

    Great article. I would like to point out an error though. Human Movement Management did not save Zombie Run. The event they were referring to was Run for Your Lives. Neither RFYL or THE Zombie Run has any relationship with Zombie Run, the original zombie infested fun run. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to posts:


  •   Hyper Vest SXY and FIT from Hyperwear.com
  • Instagram

    • Having fun providing @mudrunguide coverage at World’s Toughest Mudder. I am in love 😍 playing with my new lenses on my camera. Most of the photos are over on Facebook.
.
#wtm2018 #wtm #obstacleracing #toughmudder @tough_mudder
    • Made it to Atlanta to cover World’s Toughest Mudder. Every year I get nostalgic about the first year of WTM in 2011.
.
Can’t wait to cover the action for @mudrunguide. With the temps predicted in the 30’s overnight I excited to see how the new venue plays out.
.
Excited to get to work tomorrow.
.
#wtm #wtm2018 #toughmudder #obstaclecourseracing #mudrunguide #ocr #tbt
    • Have you heard of the online community @trail_sisters?
.
We have the story behind this huge movement encouraging more women’s voice in the outdoor industry and getting more women on the trails.
.
@ginalucrezi shared her passion and mission on this week’s podcast.
.
Temp Link in Bio
.
#podcast #trailsisters #womenwhotrailrun #findyourtribe #findyourtrail #womenrunning #allwomenalltrails #speakyourtruth #womenpodcast #getoutside #trailrunning #trailrunnersunite #runwithher
    • How many times as a kid did someone tell you to “take a deep breath” - if you are like me, a lot.
.
Breathing is essential to life and yet so much of the time we don’t breathe deeply. A couple years ago I did the @iceman_hof method course, documenting the journey.
.
Above the cold training and pushups the greatest gift after the course was a renewed focus on breathing and deep breaths.
.
Yet years later it’s so easy to forget. These days when stress levels are high or I have too much on my mind, I head out into nature and breathe.
.
Whether it’s getting my heart pounding on a run or slowing it down and focusing on deep breaths. It’s a simple and free self care technique that pays you back 10x.
.
When was the last time you truly took a deep breath?
.
#mondaytrailrun #trailtherapy #trailrunning #selfcare #justbreathe #speakyourtruth #utah #keepacoolhead #teamheadsweats #getoutside #goodr
    • This house took Halloween to the next level...
.
#houseon9th #jurassicpark #jurassicworld #halloween #lawnart #winewalk #vitamincommunity #saltlakecity #utahunique #epichalloween
    • Did you catch the new episode with @runningrosie released yesterday?
.
We had a raw, unfiltered conversation about motherhood, childbirth, body image, balance, competition, being a professional athlete, and life. Sounds heavy but as always we laughed along the way.
.
It was great having her back on the podcast 109 episodes after her first go around. If you missed the first time on the podcast talking about her childhood, check out episode 25.
.
#spartan #motherhood #nofilter #speakyourtruth #podcast #womeninspiringwomen #womenpodcasters #womeninpodcasting #ocr #obstaclecourseracing #obstacleracing #anw #friendship #spartanrace #realtalk💯
    • Fall means leaves changing, colder days, and the pond currently looks like a tea but makes some great reflections on a sunny day.
.
Sometimes there just isn’t time to get to the mountains but it doesn’t mean you can spend some time outside doing backyard chores.
.
#fallinlovewithfall #fall #winteriscoming #backyarddesign #pond #yardart #getoutside #loveyourspace #utahgram #hiddenspaces
    • Friends come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. One thing I’ve learned throughout the years is whether a friend is a next door neighbor you see everyday or someone you see once a year, it’s important to find those who have you back.
.
Sefra @puddyrara and I met in the woods of Vermont during the Peak 500. Little did I know the adventures we would embark on.
.
From the volcanos 🌋 of Nicaragua to Showing up during WTM in Vegas, stopping for an overnight in SLC, or outside Miami for a 24-hour BattleFrog (RIP). Or like this picture in Tahoe for the @spartan world championships.
.
I literally never know where in the world I will see her but I know we will have deep conversations about plants, seeds, life, spirit, and generally freak out everyone as they mostly have no idea what we are talking about.
.
Friends don’t have to be people you talk to or see daily. They just need to be your ally and have your back in a jam.
.
I’m lucky and blessed to be part of the slingshot mafia with this lady.
.
Blessing Sefra! Also I have no idea why this picture is so funny but it is to me.
.
#gratitude #friendship #blessings #spartanfriends #spartan #worldtraveling #worldwidefriends #speakyourtruth #findyourtribe #travelbuddies #spartanog #spartanwomen
    • One jar of trash a year for a family of four!
.
Sounds impossible at first but Bea Johnson of @zerowastehome is on the podcast to talk about how it’s not that hard. In fact Bea talks about how it frees up so many other aspects of life. So you can spend more time and money doing the thing you want while producing less waste in the world 🌎!
.
Do you think you could live in a zero-waste home?
.
Find the latest episode on your favorite player or link in my bio.
.
#zerowastehome #zerowaste #zerowasteliving #podcast #womenpodcasters #zerowastecollective  #podcastforwomen #minimalism #savetheplanet #savemotherearth #5rs #livelighter #onejarchallenge #reducereuserecycle #reducewaste #reduceplastic

    Follow Me!