After training for weeks, runners take their positions at the starting line, wait for the signal, and adjust the regulation sombreros attached to the tops of their helmets. Upon hearing the starting gun, they all bolt forward—only to tumble into a pit that puts them neck deep in oozy, disgusting, glorious mud.
Participants in the American Mud Race replicate this scene as they take on a 3- to 4-mile mud-filled obstacle course, all in the effort to benefit wounded veterans through the Home at Last Project by West Orange Habitat for Humanity. Afterward, racers bring home their mud-caked clothing and costumes to take revenge against their bathtubs, or they can replace them at the race site with a free T-shirt. Food and drink wristbands entitle their wearers to barbecue lunches and unlimited beer at the after party, where live music and DJs provide a soundtrack for dancing.