Get Down and Dirty!

Looking to get down, dirty and have a great time?  I mean really dirty … down-in-the-dirt-mud-in-your-hair-for-days dirty.  If this sounds like an ideal way to spend a sunny summer day, then no doubt the Holiday Valley Mudslide Obstacle Trail Run is your main event!  
Holiday Valley will host the 4th annual race on Saturday, June 20 with two distance options: a 3.5-mile course starting at the top of Spruce Lake (chairlift rides are available to spectators for $5; race registered participants ride for free!) and a 5.4-mile course for those feeling extra tough, with the same start location.  Both courses offer no escape from various obstacles, including rope climbs, log barricades and a final obstacle that has you sliding down a giant mudslide!  Did I mention that you are going to get muddy? … VERY VERY MUDDY!
Jane Eshbaugh, Marketing Director of Holiday Valley Resort, shared some insight on what makes this event such a great success and keeps bringing people back: “Our event is relatively gentle compared to a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race. So it is attractive to first-timers, families, and the vast majority of runners who just want to have fun and not get tortured!” 
With that said, parents are encouraged to bring their young ones along for the Kids Mini Mudslide, a half-mile-long course with two obstacles and all the mud and fun experienced in the main event!
Bonus fun: costumes are encouraged!  Prizes will be given out for the most creative get-ups on the course.  Need some ideas?  “Lots of bridal parties compete with brides dresses and bridesmaids gowns,” Eshbaugh said, when asked about some of the most interesting costumes she’s seen in the past.  “Richard Simmons (and he had the moves down perfectly), Snow White (with a beard) and the Seven Dwarfs” were some of her top picks. Come dressed to impress and you will be rewarded!
Once you’ve crossed the finish line, stick around for the after-party.  Bring your friends and family for post-race fun on the Champagne Sundeck (located outside the Yodeler Lodge) for plenty of refreshments, music, games and good conversation. There will also be a Vendor Village set up with representation from The City Garage, Do-Op Gear, Power Bar, Red Bull and more.
The Summer Local flagged down past participant Shelly Nagel to get her insight on the Mudslide.  She certainly had some interesting and fun stories to share with us …
NICOLE: Tell me about your first experience with the Mudslide at Holiday Valley.
SHELLY: I was actually sick with bronchitis, but I was determined to run it. I showed up with my best sneakers, my phone, and my sunglasses.  My friend met me at the top of the hill, and ‘politely’ informed me that I should leave my gear with someone else or it would be ruined.  I had no idea the amount of mud and water that I would encounter. My typical running essentials were sent down with a Mudrun volunteer … the next year I wore very old sneakers, and no phone.
NICOLE: Did you have a teammate?  Can people do this solo and still have a blast?
SHELLY: The first time I competed solo and did the 3.5-mile run.  The next year I ran the longer 5.4-mile course and had a teammate.  I was nervous to run alone that first year. However, I had a smile on my face the whole time.  I checked the pictures from the race, and in one of them I was standing at one of the obstacles, by myself, with the biggest grin.  I believe it was where I had to crawl under logs in water.  I’ve run many races, and never have I had such a smile on my face!
NICOLE: Sounds like a total muddy blast!  Tell me about the costumes … did you have one the past years you participated?  Can you let us in on what you plan on dressing up as for this year’s event?
SHELLY: Last year when I ran with my good friend Mila Clauss, it was Flag Day, and since we are both teachers, she organized some great costumes for us. Patriotic with stars, stripes ... and mud.  It’s always exciting to see what is to come, so you are not as worried about your time or where your friends are. With that said, having a group or buddy to run it with adds an extra element of fun - it's great to see your friends get muddy and cheer you on.  I am still looking for a costume theme this year … I have some ideas.
NICOLE: What were some of the most interesting costumes you saw last year?
SHELLY: There was a man who ran in jean overalls and had a shot ski with him the whole time. I gave him credit for running in wet jeans, and a ski. To be comfortable is important, but costumes are sometimes a priority … (chuckles).
NICOLE: What is your favorite part of the race? 
SHELLY: Myfavorite part … the families and friends that are involved. You’ll see a large group of girls/guys having a blast or an entire family that participates in the adult and kid run. And then when everyone gathers afterwards to relax and watch the kids go down the slide and into the mud - that’s the best part of the day. AND … the slide at the end.  Adults and kids all race for the same slide.  It's worth it!  
NICOLE: What is something about the race that caught you by surprise?
SHELLY: The actual amount of mud caught me by surprise.  You have the potential, very early in the race, to be extremely wet and muddy, which is the fun of the race.
NICOLE: Can you give any future participants any advice?  What about those who might be hesitant to sign up?
SHELLY: You get to run some amazing trails at Holiday Valley. You’ll be surprised and challenged by the obstacles, however, it is so much fun to have something new around each corner, which makes the race fly by.  The longer race demands more upper body, but either race is absolutely fun and you will feel great when it is over.  My advice: wear old shoes and clothes or costumes that can get muddy. And don't be afraid to have fun!  If you plan on staying for the after-party, you should bring a change of clothes and check the weather.
   The Mud Run is a blast. The staff and volunteers are amazing. It’s an experience you will not regret. You can be an avid runner, or just want to meet with friends for a good time. Either way it will not disappoint. If you want more of a challenge, then the 5.4-mile run will test your overall endurance. If you are a beginner, I would recommend starting with the shorter distance. The obstacles are fun and everyone has a great time.
The Holiday Valley Mudslide certainly is a fun-filled day of muddy activities! Pre-registration is $60 by June 1, or $80 after. All participants will receive a goody bag, a finisher’s medal, hot dog, and two beers (or beverages). Keep in mind, day-of registration is NOT available so be sure to register ahead of time!  If you are interested in making the Mudslide an action packed weekend in Ellicottville, Holiday Valley is offering special lodging packages for two at The Tamarack Club and The Inn at Holiday Valley, complete with Mudslide entry, overnight accommodations, indoor/outdoor heated pool and hot tub, and a complimentary continental breakfast.  Make your weekend super action packed by adding on Sky High Adventure Park tickets.  Learn  more about the event, register, and book your lodging through or call 716-699-2345.
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