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2014 Hagg Lake Mud Runs 25K Recap and Results

Brian Bernier on one of the slick, muddy downhills at the 2014 ORRC Hagg Mud 25k. Credit: Paul Nelson Photography

Brian Bernier on one of the slick, muddy downhills at the 2014 ORRC Hagg Mud 25k. Credit: Paul Nelson Photography

Hagg Lake is a beautiful place to run, even in February. This event is billed as a mud run, and it definitely lived up to it. There was a reason why the finish faced the lake, as it was easier just to hop in and rinse off before even considering swapping out for some clean and dry clothes. Personally, it was the longest race I have done since the Seattle Marathon, and I found it very well-organized and marked. The 25K consisted of a short out and back on a gravel road (the out section was uphill) and then traveling around the lake, the vast majority of it on single track dirt trail. Almost three hundred people braved the elements to tackle this challenge.

Upon arrival, it was the normal pre-race routine. Porta potty, bib, and get familiar with the start/finish area. It was nice to have a minimal amount of nervousness, due to the fact my goal today was to finish, not win. There was a pavilion with heaters underneath, which definitely came in handy when it came time to pin on the number and switch shoes. Because the run was so long, we just ran to the car and back to stay loosened up. The last thing I wanted to do was get too loosened up and start at a faster pace than necessary.

The start of the 2014 ORRC Hagg Mud 25k. The eventual winner, Dave Harkin, is at the left in black hat and blue PRC Race Team singlet. Credit: Paul Nelson Photography

The start of the 2014 ORRC Hagg Mud 25k. The eventual winner, Dave Harkin, is at the left in black hat and blue PRC Race Team singlet. Credit: Paul Nelson Photography

After the race instructions, we were unleashed upon the terrain. In hindsight, I believe the terrain was unleashed upon us. After a quick trip through the parking lot and across the road, we climbed a rolling gravel hill. Depending on who you ask, it may have been anywhere from two hundred meters to half a mile long. Of course, it was a lot shorter on the way back down. We returned the way we came, and left the park in another direction. The next couple miles were nothing short of amazing. Single track trail, puddles, winding, with short climbs and drops. You couldn’t ask for a better place to run.

Following that, we climbed to the road and crossed the dam. Easily the least exciting part of the course, it did offer great views of the lake and valley. The far side of the dam was where it got interesting. There were two short sections where it crossed parking lots and a bit of paved trail. Using a burst of energy I capitalized on the sure footing to get in front of the two participants I had been following. This put me in 4th or 5th place. As we got farther from the dam, the footing seem to get worse. Not only was there often a stream running down the middle of the trail, but the ground was clay. Unless you have spikes attached to your shoes or superpowers, it is hard to gain traction. It was hard to maintain speed, even after fueling up with some GU snatched from the aid station as I continually discovered that, yes the footing is worse on the other side of the path. Every time. The mud is deeper too.

It was difficult, but I made the decision to sacrifice speed for safety, especially after falling in a field. The open areas were actually the worst, as I was prone to slip with practically every step. The woods were not nearly as bad, except for the steep downhills that encouraged a descent technique that resembled skiing. There were several wooden bridges that were fun to cross and numerous puddles and streams that I generally chose to run through rather than leap. The last four or so mile were really bad and I resorted to walking in a couple of sections. I was passed by several people and just kept moving. Following the course was easy, as there were cones at random intervals along the trail, as well as several at all the turns. The course was still chewed up from the previous days 50K, so that was also an easy marker to follow. When it seemed the mud would never end, I finally stepped foot on pavement. This was the parking lot our cars were on, and the finish was at the next outlet. The last section of trail in between was wooded, but just as slippery as the previous section. It was definitely a moment to be proud of, crossing the line after that adventure.

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Finishing in just over two hours, good for 8th place – Photo Credit: Ximena

Post race activities included a much-needed splash in the lake, more GU, amazing grilled cheese sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and pretty much anything else I could find to eat. I was also lucky enough to win a pair of shoes in the raffle. Definitely a much more challenging event than I expected, and a lot more fun than running on the road. Worth running at least in your career just for the experience!

Find the full results here.

Male overall winners

1. Dave Harkin*,  1:49:42

2. Peter Birney, 1:51:17

3. Chad Kilian, 1:53:34

Female overall winners

1. Jen Collins, 2:13:19

2. Natalie Thompson, 2:22:06

3. Julie Baird, 2:22:30

Male Masters winners

1. Jeff Hoppert, 1:56:59

2. Jared Wilson, 2:02:07

3. Todd Bryan, 2:03:10

Female Masters winners

1. Audrey Obrien, 2:23:14

2. Colleen Sullivan, 2:34:32

3. Laura Kenney, 2:48:35

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