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Matthew Cunha Matthew Cunha
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Wicked Muddy Mainer a wicked good experience

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A before-and-after look at Matthew Cunha's Wicked Muddy Mainer experience on July 1. A before-and-after look at Matthew Cunha's Wicked Muddy Mainer experience on July 1. (edge photos by Kevin Bennett)

ORRINGTON - About a month ago, I spoke with two gentlemen who had the idea to start a mud race in Orrington. Owner Dan Thornton and event marketer Jesse Grant came up with the idea while Ice fishing. The pair had previously done a tough mountain race on Sunday River and wanted to create their own mud race. 

“We have a lot of experiences with other obstacle course races, essentially what we have done is made a list of what we liked and we didn’t like and tried to correct what we didn't like,” said Thornton.

This idea would eventually become the Wicked Muddy Mainer, an adventure race that saw its inaugural running on July 1.

Returning from Orrington after that conversation, the crazy idea of out-of-shape me doing the four-mile race and writing about it entered my mind, but by no means was I ever gonna pitch the idea to Edge editor Allen Adams. At my weekly meeting with Mr. Adams, I got to talking about how dedicated Grant and Thornton were and how cool the race course looked even close to month out from race day. That crazy idea I had was once again echoed, only not by me.

(Editor’s note: I had every intention of telling him to do the race all along. He could have backed out, but didn’t. Kudos.)

The morning of the race, I felt surprisingly calm. I ate about a high-protein breakfast and drank a lot of water. The low temperature and lack of rain was also reassuring. That calmness disappeared as soon as I went through Brewer and started to close in on Orrington; my race buddy backed out and the idea of doing the race alone got into my head.

Within minutes of my arrival, I was at the starting line anxiously awaiting for the clock to strike 11. One month ago, I never imagined I would be doing something like this. I needed to relax, have fun, and take this challenge head-on.

When I heard the word “Go,” I shot into the first obstacle like a cannon. Instantly, I was crawling on all fours through mud; I made sure that all of my body was covered to get that over with. That first obstacle also contained a bit of a mud hill -  where I fell for the first of what would be many times - and then I was on my way.

After running over a platform where I had to dodge a ball, I felt pretty good. The first nerves were over and I was ready to complete this challenge. Then came the next obstacle. It was a normal mud pit, but deep. Trekking through this spot of the course was by far the most difficult part; you had to high-step your way through it. After almost losing a shoe several times, I decided to get through the obstacle before putting my shoe back on. Poor choice. I lost my sock deep in the mud and had to finish the course without it. Almost instantly, my heel started to hurt, but I knew I had to just deal with it.

The course was already tough, but this made it far tougher. After crawling through a tunnel and climbing up an obstacle, the pain intensified. Running was not just tiring, but painful. I took a deep breath and pushed on over several mud piles separated by mud pits with water.

And then – into the woods. As far as being tired, this is when I started to feel it. After emerging from the hills of the woods, surprise! More hills. Only you could see your own demise. The hills brought you back towards the start for my personal favorite obstacle of the day - a Slip ‘n’ Slide.

The slide required no effort, a welcome respite before my least favorite obstacle. It was simple -  carry a heavy log up a hill. At this point, I made my first friends of the race. A couple who were carrying one log helped me up the remainder of the hill with my log. From there, the course brought us to a scenic view of the Penobscot River. This hill-less walk was just what the doctor ordered after carrying that log.

The pain of my heel started to really kick in again after working through a couple of tire obstacles. My new friends (whose names I really wish I had gotten) and I caught up to a large group. Everyone was having a blast despite their exhaustion, joking around and encouraging one another. The high-fives and screams of “Keep going!” were plentiful.

Back into the woods; the wooded hills started to really kill my heel, but I was determined to finish. This seemed like the longest stretch; we went awhile without an obstacle. The pain and tiredness of my body set in hard.

Out of the woods, up a couple of big muddy hills – intimidating considering how far you’ve already come. On the second one, I lost my shoe. Again. Right in the middle of the course, I was digging it out. I got it, but now I was nervous.

After the daunting hills, it was back through the woods by the river to a balance obstacle. My mud-covered shoes made this a daunting task. With the help of my favorite couple, I was eventually able to walk across the beam and run up what would be the last hill.

By this point, we’re an hour-and-a-half in; no one knows how much is left, but we could sense the end. I ran the straight paths. I walked into a pit of water where I needed a hand getting over a rolling obstacle that required one person to hold it while another person jumped on, then rotated to the other side. Once that person reached the other side, they spun it for the first person. It was about team-building and was one of my favorites.

From there, I took a turn and saw the home stretch. I really started running; I could see the last two obstacles and a nice pool to rinse the mud off. The last obstacle required you to scale a slippery wall. I fell off and into the pit of water below the wall; more teamwork was required as I used someone's hand to get up and over. After one last climbing obstacle, I sprinted to the finish, posed for a picture and then hit the diving board and launched into the water.

The jubilation I felt after the race is tough to describe. I was sore and my heel was throbbing, but I did it. I snagged a band-aid from the first aid tent before making the long walk back to my car. That was that - I was on my way to a shower and some Neosporin for the blister on my heel. It was over. I completed the challenge I put to myself; despite the many scratches, sore body and the large blister on my heel, the experience was well worth it.

The Wicked Muddy Mainer lived up to its wicked name; it never failed to bring the next challenge with hills, mud and/or obstacles. I’m glad I took it on; nothing feels better than reaching a goal you set for yourself.

I heartily recommend this race to anybody. A month ago, I was dreading the thought of doing it; now, I can't wait to do it again next year.

Last modified on Wednesday, 05 July 2017 09:46


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