Jill Prichard is the race director of the World Famous Mud Run, which has a 21-year history of inspiring participants to “be like a Marine.” The 2014 event features four different race days (May 31, June 1, 7, 8) with not only the original 10K distance, but a newly added 5K distance option. We got a chance to talk with Jill and ask her about how she manages such a complex event and stays true to the spirit of the United States Marine Corps.
How did you get started in the business (sports industry)?
My sports industry journey started when I worked for the City of Carlsbad in the early 80s. I worked in the Special Events Office which managed all special events throughout the city, including the Carlsbad Triathlon and a couple of other sporting events. My favorites were the body board and body surfing contests.
How long have you been involved with the Camp Pendleton Mud Run?
I was hired at Camp Pendleton literally one week prior to the 2012 World Famous Mud Run – talk about hitting the ground running! So technically, 2014 will be my third go-around with the race but only my second year as Race Director. It truly is one giant team effort, so all the credit for its success goes to the Semper Fit Team – I am blessed with an amazing staff.
What were the biggest changes in the industry you noticed in 2013?
Prior to 2010, we were pretty much the only kid on the block when it came to obstacle course mud run races – since then, over 300 obstacle style races, just in the Southern California area, have popped up. This is another example of a grass roots sport changing its form just slightly and then exploding worldwide (for example, like stand up paddle boarding and surfing).
What do you think is in store for you and the industry in 2014?
Obstacle racing has evolved into its own sport, completely different from your regular road race running event. As with all new trends, it will take a couple of years for the sport to grow and then settle into its niche in the athletic world. We have succeeded because we have remained the same, true to our military roots, but at the same time, we have been evolving – if you can, imagine the perfect blend of the two.
Our growth came naturally because of the hunger of our athletes to participate in obstacle racing over the past 21 years, not from a new trend that has suddenly become popular. It is with that concept and solid base that we are confident in our future in the sport.
Do you have any advice to share with other event directors?
Have as much fun as humanly possible and make sure you take everyone with you along for the ride!
Learn more about the World Famous Mud Run