A few weeks ago I attended my first “obstacle run,” which in legal terms is more of a “buffet of liability.” Although I had never done any kind of running other than from my inner demons, I had long been aware of these obstacle runs from Facebook, Instagram, and Legends of the Hidden Temple. I’m sure they’re also on Vine and Pinterest and Grindr and whatever other apps the kids are using these days. My stance has long been that jogging is miserable enough without getting trench foot, so I avoided these sorts of things. I figured that these events spontaneously broke out in Starbucks lines or Lulu Lemon stores because it is always exclusively white girls in head bands doing these things, but it turns out they’re orchestrated ahead of time by people who realize they can charge close to $100 for people to go fall around a field for less than an hour. My brother invited me to a Zombie Mud Run and like a big dumb idiot I agreed because money is stupid and dying from a bacterial infection is fun.
When we arrived, the second we stepped from the car four girls had us take a picture of them in their “craaaaazzzzyyy” outfits while they actually screamed “Woooooo” and chugged beer. I’m no Steve Prefontaine, but I imagine running a few miles with recently ingested Michelob Ultra mixing with last night’s Fireball in your stomach isn’t ideal. Then again, these girls were wearing pink tutus and spandex, so clearly they were professionals. Somewhere at a Panera bread next to an outlet mall, some scientist cloned these girls 500 times and that comprised everyone else at the run. Most of the people attending the run were basically walking hashtags – or as I call them, phone waffles – who actually see the world in sepia-tone and have eaten more brunches than dinners. Anyway, I quickly realized that my brother and I were in better shape than 99% of the runners. Keep in mind that such a statement isn’t me bragging about being in shape – I have the body of a sickly preteen girl – it was actually a comment on the fact that most of the runners’ sole exercise seemed to come from the aerobics of raising one’s arms over one’s head and screaming “Shots with my bitches!” Anyone can feel like an athlete while running a race with 500 hungover girls with some variation of the name Britney (see: Brittany, Britneigh, Britnee)
When the race started, some people immediately resigned to walking. The word “run” is in the title of the event, and yet a huge portion of the runners immediately turned to walking and taking pictures. The obstacles were exactly what you’d expect to find at Army training, and just like the Army it is very important to pause during the obstacles to throw up a peace sign for a photo and then give up half way across the obstacle to talk to your friends about Scandal episodes. Yep, it was exactly like the Army. One obstacle involved climbing the world’s shortest rope and ringing the world’s largest cowbell. This rope was less like the one in gym class, and more like a light switch in your basement. Yet, despite the three foot rope, when we arrived at the obstacle, some guy was hopelessly standing next to it sipping Gatorade while he looked at us and said, “Oh man, I think that’s literally impossible.” Then, despite being built like Dilbert, I rang the bell and the guy loudly exclaimed, “Man, you should be in the friggin Olympics!” To clarify, I can barely make it through a bowl a Cheerios without pulling a muscle, and this guy thought I was an Olympian because I summoned the upper body strength of a toddler. Another obstacle involved jumping over a stick. It was truly a grueling trail of madness.
When we could see the finish line, people began cheering for us as if we had accomplished something beyond stepping over tiny objects for about 3 miles. And then suddenly there is a fire pit in the middle of the path with a staff member pointing to it. They intended for me to jump over said fire pit, whereas I intended, instead, to not die. Apparently the company thought, “To make sure we get sued, we should put a fire pit at the finish of this endless parade of unathletic people so they can jump over after tiring out their legs for 3 miles.” Most people at the run didn’t have the fitness to jump a car, let alone jump over an ACTUAL PIT OF FIRE. Contrary to how humans are supposed to react to fire, I did not die. At the finish line there was a photo shoot happening, with a professional photographer offering to take pictures because at that moment I really wanted a photograph of me complaining about having to buy a new pair of sneakers. All in all, I highly recommend doing an obstacle run. It is a fun way to destroy your clothes, feel like a “friggin Olympian” and pay exorbitant amounts of money to do a thing you can do for free anywhere at any time. But mud runs and color runs make for better Instagram photos, so go do an #obstaclerun #runninwithmybitches #somanyfilters #phonewaffles.