This weekend the women of Erie County and surrounding areas are going to pack up their gym gear and head to South Wales to get down and dirty with Mother Earth at the first inaugural Dirty Girl Mud Run on Saturday, September 10.
Imagine, if you can, around 3,000 muddy, soaking-wet women tearing through a five-kilometer course that zigzags up and down and around Emery County Park while being introduced to an obstacle every quarter of a mile. The obstacles include a fence jump, a mud-pit dive, a wall climb, a tunnel crawl, a tire weave, and more.
“I’m looking forward to the obstacles. I love a good challenge and that’s not something I get to do every day,” says Lola Cole of East Aurora.
Jimmy Ghosman, director of the event, designed the course with fellow director Chris McIntosh. Ghosman says the inspiration for the course came from a desire to challenge women of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels while still making it manageable and fun for all participants. Oh, and it’s eco-friendly.
“We work with the natural terrain as much as possible to incorporate obstacles,” he says. “Any of our hay/straw obstacles are basically rented from local farmers and returned after we are done with them to feed their animals. We also work with local and sustainable companies as much as possible.”
The Mud Run, one of only three in the country, releases women in waves. A wave, having up to 150 women in it, is released every fifteen minutes. Within the waves women can sign up with friends to form teams or go it alone. Cole, for instance, is on a team called the Wild Pink Warriors.
Megan Marquis of Orchard Park signed up to be on a team with her daughters, Mallory and Gabrielle. Marquis says she can’t wait to get waist deep into the mud with her daughters.
“I wanted to keep going with more activity as I age,” she says. “This is something worthy and fun.”
Marquis alludes to the fact that a portion of every registration fee ($65) is donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF). A check is presented to the NBCF after each of the three events.
While this event is an all-women rumpus, men are more than welcome to come and witness the laughter, mud-diving, and revelry throughout the day.
“It’s very much a family-friendly event. There are a lot of husbands, fathers, children, etc. that come to cheer them on,” says Gohsman.
This event is not competitive.
“We wanted to have the event geared more towards fun with friends than individual competition. The event is about getting women who normally wouldn’t do something like this to step out of their comfort zones and overcome the obstacles both figuratively and literally,” says Gohsman.
“We’ve tried to remove the intimidation factor and increase the fun factor, while keeping the course challenging enough for seasoned athletes and not too challenging for our first timer crowd.”
Lex Tagliarini of Lewiston says that is what attracted her to the Dirty Girl Mud Run.
“Dirty Girl made it a point that it wasn’t competitive,” she says. “I’m not looking to dominate I just want to finish.
Tagliarini, however, seems very eager to rule the mud crawl.
“There’s not too many chances for a girl to breast through mud, dress up as a Viking (that’s a personal choice), and have a blast without worrying how ridiculous you look,” she says.
Cole, Marquis, and Tagliarini and the thousands of other women won’t be disappointed, says Gohsman.
“Participants can expect to have one of the most memorable days ever, full of laughs and camaraderie with close friends and family,” he says.
And of course there is an after-party.
Tagliarini says she is looking forward to her complimentary cocktail after the course is behind her (indeed it might help push her through those last couple obstacles).
Cole, too, says she is looking forward to winding down with other women after she rips it up. “Most races have decent after parties and this one sounds like it will be too,” she says.
Gohsman explains the party as “an atmosphere full of energy, fun, music, dancing, and laughs,” adding that participants will receive a t-shirt, a charm, and other little goodies from the Dirty Girl sponsors.
Online registration for the event closes Thursday, September 8 at 11:59p.m. but any interested runner can head to Emery County Park and register the day of the event.
Gohsman says registration is open to any woman ages 14 to 65 and up and is sure to be a life-changing event.
“The coolest element of this is that it promotes feminine strength and endurance as well as letting go of your own self-doubts by pushing through your comfort zone,” says Tagliarini. “Getting together with a ton of other women who know they can kick ass and look a fool is a rarity.”
Here you’ll find more information about the Dirty Girl Mud Run and how you can get involved. You can go here to register online; remember online registration closes Thursday night, but they are waiting for your registration at the event, which kicks off at 8am and closes up around 3pm.