Saturday was the Dirty Dash at Amesbury Sports Park in Amesbury, MA. I had first heard about this race from a fellow blogger out west, before they ever had a location here scheduled and thought it sounded like a lot of fun (along the lines of a Foam Fest fun run). As soon as I heard it was coming to MA, I knew it would go on my list of races this year. I thoroughly enjoy the fun runs. A lot of hardcore OCR racers will say they’re not very challenging, but they’re not meant to be. That’s why they’re called “fun runs”. Everyone can do them, even grandmas – and I saw several of them out on that course having a blast with their children and grandchildren!
I got up to start getting ready around 5:30 since it would be about a two hour drive for us. We hit the road somewhere around 6:45 and arrived just before 9:00, so that worked pretty well. The ride up wasn’t bad because I think we were early enough, but when we left the traffic on that side was a nightmare.
Once we got up there, parking was a breeze and we headed towards the check-in. What we noticed, though, was a table with a few men that appeared to be searching bags. Now, when the race info was emailed it specifically mentioned that you should bring water to hydrate, so we had packed a couple of bottles of water. The signs as we approached said that NO food or drink could be brought in, so I had to take it out, drink some of it and then give it up to the people at the table. Tara then had her bag searched. This was really frustrating, considering the options they had for sale inside the festival area. I paid $3 for a Gatorade after the race which is ridiculous, but I digress.
After we got through the bag search, I waited for a moment in the proper alphabetical line to hand in my waiver and get my bib. This was really quick and easy the way they had it set up. I also was able to switch my time there. For some reason, when I chose the NE Spahtens team during registration, it wasn’t the right one. I had been registered for 11:00 but the team wave was apparently at 10:10. I told the guy at registration and he just shrugged and wrote down 10:10 on my bib so I was happy they didn’t give me a hard time about swapping. The festival area, once inside, was really tiny given the amount of the space available at the Amesbury Sports Park. I don’t really know why they set it up that way, but it wasn’t a huge issue. People were just extra close.
I met up with some fellow Spahtens that were running and met some more new faces. I ended up running with 3 of them for the whole race and had a BLAST. We took a team pic before our wave and then got ready to race. The race started on a very steep uphill and then after that you couldn’t see anything, so no pics from Tara this time, other than the start and finish.
The course was really fun, very well spread out and had a decent amount of obstacles. Some regular, challenging things like wall climbs and a cargo net climb and then some fun inflatable stuff. And lots and lots and lots of mud. The Dirty Dash definitely delivered on the mud. I did notice that the course map didn’t match up with what we actually ran though. They held a Dirty Girl mud race there the weekend before and apparently they took their sweet time getting their stuff broken down. The Dirty Dash people literally had like 1 day to set up their race, so it appears they left some stuff out, like the monkey bars. This wasn’t an issue for me since I can’t do those anyway because of my shoulder.
Big Mean Hill #1
As always, I can never remember the order or all the types of obstacles, but there was lot of mud pits, some tunnels to crawl through, a pit with pipes through it to do over/unders, cargo net climb, wall climb with 3 walls of varying heights, hay bale climb, another set of walls to climb with a rope, a big bouncy house, an inflatable balance beam on rollers (so it was like a see saw), a water slide, a log balance beam and a beer chug (with optional root beer chug for those under 21, or people like me who don’t drink beer).
The one negative about the course itself was the finish. This was the first race that I ever had to WAIT to cross the finish line. They had poorly planned to take the pictures right after you cross the finish, but the photographer was taking 3-4 different posed pictures of every group. This caused a back-up that was going back up the hill by the time we got there. We waited probably 30-45 minutes by our estimation just to take a picture. What they should have done is put it off to the side after the finish and you could opt to go in there if you wanted to take the pic or not.
Waiting in line to “finish”
One more thing I should make a note of is that there were no changing tents. There were some not-very-powerful hoses to rinse off, but nowhere to duck into and change into dry clothes. There was no way I was doing it standing in front of everybody, or doing it in a portapotty, so I opted to drive the two hours home in wet clothes.
I’d probably rate this a 3.5 out of 5 stars if I had to pick something like that. It doesn’t really matter though, because there has been talk that they are going under like many of the other fun runs that have gone bankrupt lately. Whether or not this is true is pure speculation to me, but I wouldn’t be surprised.