Race preview: 2015 ORRC Hagg Lake Mud Runs

Despite a variety of races held at Hagg Lake, the 2014 Hagg Lake Hybrid back in September was my first actual event at this storied location. It was an amazing experience at a beautiful location and really left me with a sense of accomplishment in the pristine environment.

Now 5 months later, the Hagg Lake from the late summer will be a little chillier, a little more cloudy, a LOT more muddy, and is still sure to one hell of a time at the 2015 ORRC Hagg Lake Mud Runs on February 14 and 15.

The event spans two days, with the 50k occurring on Saturday the 14th and the 25k on Sunday the 15th. This will allow the muddy course to rest a little bit, and bring out a boatload of crazies who want back-to-back torture (i.e. fun) on consecutive days.

Credit: Paul Nelson Photography

Both distances will start and finish at the Sain Creek Pavilion on the west side of the lake. According to the course map, there will be a short out-and-back up Sain Creek Road, a gravelly challenge, right off the bat. This will allow things to thin out a bit as the course does climb in elevation. After returning to the pavilion, runners will hit the trails (counterclockwise) and loop around the lake twice.

The 25K is similar, but the course map shows only about 1.5 miles of the out-and-back on a gravel road before the trails begin and one lake loop is completed. The 50k will have about 5 aid stations and the 25k will have 2, so come prepared if you are expecting you will need more hydration or energy.

Just thinking back to the Hagg Hybrid, I remember how great the trails were, but knowing that had it been a wet summer, it would have made things very challenging in parts. Brian, one of our bloggers, participated in the 2014 Hagg Mud and had this to say:

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.

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.

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.

It was definitely a moment to be proud of, crossing the line after that adventure. 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!

Now, these quotes are not meant to scare you away – actually you should be encouraged and heartened that this is a “true” mud run. There will be no obstacles and no man-made muck ponds – just mother nature in Oregon doing its best job to create running havoc! Challenge accepted!

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

Following the race, clean off with a dip in the lake, but be welcomed by the covered pavilion (complete with heaters), and a delicious post-race spread. Brian stated that the grilled cheese sandwiches last year were amazing, as was other food on hand and a really neat hot chocolate deal. The race is sponsored by Lucky Labrador Brewery, so I suspect there may be beer on site too.

Your entry fee includes a race shirt, socks (you’re going to need to replace the ones you just ran in), and a finisher’s medal. Check out the race on Facebook here for updates leading up to race day.

Following in the vein of some great races and events (Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, Terrapin Events) the Hagg Mud will provide a very worthwhile VIP experience. What sets it apart is that the race partners with three youth programs from our community. These programs will be actually receive a donation from those VIP runner entry fees. That’s really awesome, and a steal at $60 per person.

The perks include:

  • Reserved Parking in the Sain Creek Parking Lot
  • A bottle of wine from Winter’s Hill Wine (you pick the type)
  • A Hagg Mud beanie
  • An extra pair of finisher socks
  • A high quality image from our race photographer
  • Access to the VIP porta-potty
  • Hot chocolate for puppies and kittens mug and service

2015 ORRC Hagg Lake Mud Runs (Hagg Lake)

50k: Saturday, February 14, 2015 (yes, Valentine’s Day) – 7 a.m. early start; 8 a.m. regular start. (FAQ page displays cut-off times)
25k: Sunday, February 15, 2015 – 9 a.m. start (no early start)
Where: Hagg Lake
Register: Online here; 25k is $65 and 50k is $70; Register for both races for $100. ORRC members save $5 per race.

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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