For the past few years, obstacle-course mud races have become an increasingly popular weekend activity for those in pursuit of a Hunger-Games-like challenge. Typically, the events last a grueling four to five hours. But, for most races, once you cross the finish line, that’s it; you go home — and, presumably, straight into your shower. This seems like an anticlimactic ending, especially after you've inevitably had to skip out on party time for weeks (or, sometimes, months) while training.
Shouldn’t there be more fanfare? Cristina DeVito, CEO and Founder of Mudderella, saw an opportunity to change the course, so to speak, by creating a multi-faceted and women-focused event that celebrates fitness and friendship.
Like many of us, DeVito frequently found herself having to pick between her friends and her workout: “When you work out, it’s a very individual activity — so you’re asking the question, ‘Do I work out or do I have dinner with my friends?’” Last year, she created a solution to her dilemma: Mudderella, an obstacle course event that's built to merge your workout with your social life. Of course, it helps that there’s chilled hard cider and a manicure waiting for you at the finish line.
After a successful debut with thousands of participants in the Poconos last spring, Brooklyn-based Mudderella has expanded globally this year, kicking off a whopping eight events (set to take place near major U.S. cities and in the U.K.) on May 10 with a New York/New Jersey edition (click here to see the full schedule). They also nabbed Athleta as their official apparel sponsor for 2014.
Each event features different obstacles, so no two courses are exactly the same. But, they all benefit and raise awareness for Futures Without Violence, a national non-profit working to end violence against women and children through education, policy development, and training programs.
Mudderella's all-day events begin with “The Works,” in which you gather with your team to get into character — you’re urged to wear anything that makes you stand out, from face paint to temporary tattoos to tutus. Then, you head to the first station, dubbed “Stretch + Strengthen,” where a host of trainers get you warmed up, pumped up, and ready to tackle the course. Then, the games begin.
While there is definitely some healthy competition, Mudderella is not a timed event. Instead, the focus is on achieving personal fitness goals while having fun with like-minded women (and the men who participate to support them). The five-to-seven-mile course is tailored specifically for women's bodies (meaning a strong focus on core strength, balance, stability, and agility) and consists of 12 to 15 obstacles.
Each obstacle is intended to foster teamwork and, as Cristina says, to “remind women that they’re stronger than they think they are.” (Mudderella’s motto is “Own Your Strong.”) Of course, as the name implies, you can expect to encounter lots of mud in nearly every obstacle.
Once you cross the finish line, you get to cash in on some well-deserved pampering at the “Rinse + Revive” station, where you can take a much-needed shower and cool down with some restorative yoga poses. Friends and family who’ve come to cheer you on can join in on the fun, and the celebration continues with music, entertainment, and healthy treats. So, if you’re looking for an alternative to the typical bachelorette party or girls’ spa weekend, head for this different kind of mud bath.