Down and Dirty

Location:  Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, 4400 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66604

Cost:  Depends on when you register, ages of registrants, etc.  In 2018, it cost $81 for me, Sprout, and Peanut, and we signed up early enough to get t-shirts in our swag bags.

Web site:

Through a curious series of events–largely consisting of my mother’s suggestion and my being a sucker for doing things with my kids–I ended up at the Serious Fun Mud Run on June 3rd.  It’s a short course–about 1/4 mile–and you can go through it up to three times.  We had so much fun we did it twice, and the only reason we didn’t go for the third time is that the fire department providing the hose-off at the end was on a schedule and would have to go before we were finished (and the hose-off is a must).

I’m fairly sure the course and obstacles will change year-over-year.  This year went roughly as follows:

  • Starting line with a drip hose so you can start out nice and soaked.
  • “Woodland tunnel” on a trail through the woods.  This was not terribly muddy (a plus!), but did involve obstacles that were more challenging for Peanut–roots, branches, etc.  He and I were slow on this part as we went sighted guide and the path was narrow.
  • Volunteers with super soakers spraying you as you run by the tree house.
  • Mud pit number 1:  you’re supposed to either pencil roll or low crawl.  They’re ok with it if you walk.  Both Peanut and Sprout lost their shoes here.
  • Mud pit number 2:  I think this one’s deeper.  Definitely crawl.
  • Get-your-friends-dirty:  A spot with plates, bowls, etc. to scoop muddy water and dump it on your friends.  Peanut took this as an opportunity to hug volunteers.  They were down with it.
  • Jump over hay bales (about 5 with spaces–like hurdles)
  • A tire walk like you see in Army videos–one foot in the left tube and one in the right.  These were made out of pool noodles.
  • Carrying a tub of muddy water on your head down to a big kiddie pool.
  • Dump your tub of water in the kiddie pool, and jump in it if you like.
  • Repeat run up to three times, then head outside to dance in water from a fire hose to clean off.

Short version:  Can your B/VI child do this race?  YES, ABSOLUTELY!  There is, however, a caveat:  you’re going to have to go along.  There are two kid-only runs for different age groups, then the final run is the Family Run.  You’re going to want to sign up for that one.  It’s a super-sensory experience, and it’s not even remotely accessible if you need mobility devices.  Leave your cane with a friend who’s not running–sighted guide is the way to go here.  You, your child, and anything you’re wearing will have mud in places you weren’t entirely aware you had.

Long version:  Thoughts and observations:

  • Peanut and I went sighted guide.  This made us slow in the first part of the race and created a little bit of a bottleneck, especially our first time through.  Think a typical woodland trail (narrow, overgrown in places, with tree roots and branches), with two people trying to navigate it.  I didn’t want him to wipe out in the woods.  The rest of the race, I basically told him what was coming up and gave him directions, and he was fine.
  • Shoes.  Shoes are complicated.  I wore army boots:  these are perfect.  My feet were warm and dry until the fire hose at the end.  Sprout wore sneakers.  These got sucked off of her feet in the first mud obstacle, which she originally tried to walk through.  Peanut wore clogs with heel straps.  These also got sucked off in the first mud obstacle, leaving three adults feeling through the mud until we found his second shoe.  Both kids went barefoot the second time through.  There’s wood mulch and hot concrete, so I’m not sure I recommend that.  If you don’t have army boots, maybe old sneakers that tie tightly would work?  Also, crawl through the obstacles rather than walking–the point is to get dirty, anyway, and it’ll make it less likely that your shoes come off.
  • As I said before, this is not an accessible race if you’re using mobility devices.  It’s definitely not wheelchair accessible, and I think a stability-cane would be exceptionally challenging.  The obstacles aren’t wide enough for a walker or a gait trainer, and I don’t think you’d want to take one anyway given the amount of dirt you’d have to clean off of it.  If you and your kiddo are able to navigate without devices, it could be a lot of fun.
  • Sensory play!  This is an excuse for kids to get muddy.  My kids LOVE GETTING MUDDY.  They also LOVED GETTING ME MUDDY.  There were all sorts of textures and ground to feel and different consistencies of mud to squish all over.  If your kiddo is texture-avoidant or doesn’t like to be messy–definitely skip this one.
  • The Topeka Fire Department were at the end with a fire truck with a roof-mounted hose that they sprayed over a field for people to get de-mudded.  Some people were able to get almost entirely clean.  Us, not so much.
  • Bring towels to cover your car seats.  Bring towels to dry off.  Bring a plastic bag for your shoes.  If you’re female, consider wearing a sports bra so you can take your shirt off at the end (I saw a woman do this and was envious).  The kiddos were cold after getting sprayed off, so be prepared for that.
  • There was a Kona Ice truck at the end.  We skipped it, but bring some $ if you’d like to indulge.
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