The World Famous Mud Run has been around for 21 years. It focuses on the United States Marine Corps and it stays true to Marine-type obstacles.
Back when MWR (Morale Welfare Recreation) first became a division on MCB Camp Pendleton, the folks in charge decided to host an event that would allow civilians to come on base and experience what it was like to “be a Marine.” The idea was to simulate the boot camp experience by constructing a short obstacle course on the beach that featured the same obstacles used to train Marines. The first event had just over 100 people participate and in the early 90’s, the event was moved to Lake O’Neill.
As participation grew, additional days were added to accommodate the increase in numbers. So what started as a beach obstacle run for 100 civilians pretending to be Marines at boot camp, has grown into over 22,000 runners challenging themselves to over 15 obstacle stations with three large mud pits and as of 2011, has featured the dirtiest party ever offered post race – the Filthy Fun Fest.
Q&A with Jill Prichard, Race Director
HOW MANY DIFFERENT MUD RUN RACES ARE THERE THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE THE DISTANCES?
The 2014 World Famous Mud Run features four different race days (May 31, June 1, 7, 8) with not only our original 10K distance option but new this year is a 5K distance option.
HOW MANY TOTAL RUNNERS PARTICIPATE?
Our maximum each day is around 5,500 runners. We have sold out every year (or pretty darn close) and expect to do the same this year.
"One hundred percent of our profit goes back into our programs supporting the Marines and sailors here on base."
DO THE RACE ENTRY FEES SUPPORT MILITARY FAMILIES?
One hundred percent of our profit goes back into our programs supporting the Marines and sailors here on base.
DO MORE PEOPLE COMPETE AS INDIVIDUALS OR TEAMS? WHAT’S THE APPROXIMATE BREAKDOWN?
It’s about a 70% individual and 30% team split. This doesn’t include our Kid’s Mud Run which is in its second year – we had over 200 kids each day in 2013 and expect around 300+ per day this year.
DOES THE EVENT KEEP GETTING BIGGER EVERY YEAR OR HAS IT PLATEAUED?
The event had tremendous growth up until 2012 and has since plateaued – that is an intentional plateau because we have reached our maximum capacity unless we add another day. There is a fine line between accommodating more runners and maintaining the fun and integrity of the event – we have reached that balance!
DID THE MUD RUN START THIS NATIONAL TREND TOWARD MOB™ EVENTS?
While we can certainly think we started the trend since we’ve been around so long, it’s hard to say for sure. I would like to think our military heroes have inspired thousands to become fit and participate in sports – and we’ve given them a really fun way to do this.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE MUD RUN HAS BECOME SO POPULAR?
The direction of sports is always evolving with each new generation of athletes. I believe that our race has become popular because it is a break from the traditional running race and a step towards doing something really fun with friends. Everyone seems to have a friend running with them and if they don’t, they generally have a new friend by the end of the day.
HOW IMPORTANT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?
Social media is an amazing tool for races. There is such a large population of participants and potential participants that rely on and relish information that is distributed via social networks. The reach and potential for marketing opportunities are growing daily – or at least with every Facebook® update!
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING WITH ACTIVE NETWORK?
Personally, I’ve been working with ACTIVE since its inception – way back when the first version came out in the late 90s. Camp Pendleton first offered online registration about a decade ago, going 100% online in 2012.
WHAT ARE THE TOP FEATURES YOU USE IN ACTIVE’S EVENT MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY?
ACTIVE has great event management features including report downloading capabilities which are extremely important to us. As an event manager, I need to be able to track my participants’ demographics on a daily basis and ACTIVE has the tools I need to do so. I take full advantage of having custom reports developed that meet my specific needs.
HAS ACTIVE HELPED YOU MARKET YOUR EVENT AND ATTRACT PARTICIPANTS?
The magnitude of marketing options with ACTIVE is incredible. They pretty much have developed a marketing option for every avenue a race director could possibly need. Their sport-specific database is massive, which complements our Camp Pendleton race-specific database.
HAS ACTIVE SUPPORTED YOU AND PROVIDED YOUR EVENT WITH GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE?
The customer support team, and in particular, our assigned technician and account manager, have been wonderful. Above and beyond anything we have received from other companies – but everything we have come to expect from ACTIVE!
“The magnitude of marketing options with ACTIVE is incredible. They pretty much have developed a marketing option for every avenue a race director could possibly need.”
Race Director, World Famous Mud Run