The 2014 Defenders of Liberty Mud Run is a 3.9-mile trail race and obstacle run that will be held, May 30-31, on the East Reservation of Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. This unusual, challenging race will involve rough terrain and 15 military-style obstacles designed “to push participants to their mental and physical boundaries.” Runners can opt to run the course on Friday night (“run in the dark by the glow of your headlamp”) or on Saturday, when a one mile-long, kids-only version of the course will also be available. Proceeds from the event will benefit MWR (morale, welfare and recreation) programs at Barksdale Air Force Base – a worthy cause if ever there was one.
Event organizers have been kind enough to provide one adult race registration (valued at $55) to be given away to a lucky 20×49.com reader. If you’d like to enter to win the free registration, just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Defenders of Liberty Mud Run” before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7. The free registration does not include the kids race or the competition heats.
I spoke to race organizer Caitlin Cook, outdoor recreation program manager at Barksdale Air Force Base, about what runners can expect from the course and more.
20×49: What level of runner does a person need to be in order to be able to tackle the Defenders of Liberty Mud Run?
Caitlin Cook: There are obviously the people who do this on a regular basis, but this is for anybody who’s up to the challenge. For a lot of folks, this is their first obstacle run.
20×49: How many folks participate in this kind of challenge run?
CC: We had about 630 runners last year, which was our first year. We’re hoping to see about 800 this year.
20×49: Can you describe the course for someone who’s never done an obstacle run or a mud run?
CC: The trail is all dirt. It’s uphill, downhill, through pines and swampy, muddy, messy areas. The trail is through a forest, basically. It’s not a beaten path. The trail was cut last year, and we try to beat it down as much as we can, but it’s still pretty fresh. The course kind of weaves you in and out of the woods. There are 15 obstacles, including ponds, mud pits, cargo net climbs and tires. There’s a big slip and slide towards the end of the course.
The kids’ course is only a mile. There are similar obstacles, but they’re miniaturized. They have a mud pit, tires, a net to crawl under – it’s all kind of very similar to what we have for the adult race. They only have 6 or 7 obstacles.
20×49: And once you’ve totally soaked your running shoes in mud, you can donate them to a good cause.
CC: That’s right. For anyone who wants to donate their muddy shoes, we’ll be collecting them at the end of the race and donating them to the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission.