MUD NINJA 2014

     Mud Ninja is a “must run” obstacle course in the sleepy area of South Salem, OH. Located west of the city of Chillicothe, OH, the town of South Salem offers great terrain and a very nice landscape for Mud Ninja. Don’t expect to run through a stream during Mud Ninja, but rather expect to consistently trek up & down hills on a very narrow path. When rating this course, 1 will be the lowest rating for a category and 5 will be the highest.

     Mud Ninja is conducted one weekend each year at the end of July. It’s 5K and consists of approximately 25 obstacles. Upon arriving at Mud Ninja, you can expect good organization with parking followed by a smooth check-in at the different registration booths. One unique aspect about Mud Ninja is the registration process. When you register, you can either choose to be timed or untimed. Upon arrival at the registration check-in tents, there are separate tents for timed and non-timed runners. If you’re a non-timed runner, you very quickly move through the registration process. This kept both tents moving quickly. I’d rate the registration a 4 for efficiency.

     Mud Ninja has several unique obstacles. To keep with the “Ninja” theme, you will go over 2 slack line obstacles. Unless you’ve got good balance or have been practicing, you may end up wet. For anyone who does not like traditional monkey bars, Mud Ninja introduces you to Gorilla Bars. Instead of swinging bar-to-bar, plan on traversing a pit using 2 horizontal bars. And for the signature obstacle, Mud Ninja brings to you the obstacle they’ve named “American Ninja Warrior”. This obstacle was inspired by the Jump Hang from the American Ninja Warrior TV show. For this obstacle, get a running start, jump off a spring board across a ditch and onto a very short cargo net. This cargo net is intentionally short, forcing you to rely solely on upper-body strength to muscle up to the top of the platform. Just like in the American Ninja Warrior TV show, keeping your arms locked in at 90 degrees as you climbed the cargo net preserved upper-body strength. Climb to the top of the platform, feel like a champ for a minute, then down the other side to continue the race. These race-unique obstacles get an overall rating of 5 for both difficulty and uniqueness in an OCR.

     In addition the race-unique obstacles, expect to see many of your favorite obstacles, such as the Troylean Traverse, balance beam logs, ditches and hills, etc. For the terrain, one word: HILLS. The hills in Mud Ninja were definitely challenging. You spend a good amount of time going down or climbing up hills at decent grades. Upon completing the race, each finisher, whether timed or untimed, received a finisher’s medal consisting of a throwing star on a ribbon. For all timed runners, there were many different categories to win in, between top 3 overall and top per age group. Many of the top winners were awarded a ceremonial Samurai Sword. I give the overall course and race rewards a 4.

     To summarize, Mud Ninja presented a good combination of unique obstacles along with more familiar ones with their own twist. For an overall rating of an OCR, Mud Ninja deserves a 4. Mud Ninja does not rise to the difficulty of Spartan Race or Tough Mudder, but is an excellent and very challenging OCR. Given the consistent hilly terrain and price ranging from $27 to $69 not counting any discount codes, Mud Ninja is an excellent race to consider for the race calendar.

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Adam McHenry

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