At a North Dakota race last weekend, competitors entered a natural drainage zone in a wilderness area that’s locally known as the Red Fjords. The mud was so thick that racers became stuck in the gloppy, quicksand-like solution.
Many could not make it back out. “Volunteers ended up tossing ropes with hand loops to some racers and physically dragging them out,” said event organizer Andy Magness.
Welcome to END Racing and its first Uff Da Mud Run. The event drew 700 competitors and had a goal to be toughest of its type ever built.
In addition to the “extreme” factor, the race was held in a natural area — none of the mud was created or trucked in. Instead, swamps, river banks, and runoff areas served as the course.
There were 23 obstacles on the 5-kilometer loop, and in the mix were piles of rocks, a wooden wall, mud banks, old river oxbows, ponds, piles of deadfall, and more. One section included a wandering route through a cattail stand.
END Racing got permission from the local park service to host the event. They left footprints in the mud, but otherwise the highly eroded landscape should return to its natural state again with the next rain or flooding of the infamous Red River. Said Magness, “The Uff Da course featured three river crossings, a feat in itself considering the massive cultural fear of the Red River that still lingers in Grand Forks.”
See the photos below and on the following page, all shot by Wes Peck, for an inside look at what has to be one of the weirdest, wildest outdoor events of recent memory. —Stephen Regenold