Tie Dye 5K “Run with Heart”

Two years ago I was at Flying Feet Sports looking for new sneakers.  I was on my way out with my new kicks when I ran into Missy Mulcahy.  She asked if I was looking for a race and handed me a flyer for the Tie Dye 5K.  She explained that the race was in memory of her late husband Mark who had passed away suddenly on December 1, 2013 from a heart attack.  I was unable to run the race last year, but when the race came around again I was excited to make it my first 5k of the year.

The race benefits the American Heart Association.  My family has a long history of heart problems so this is a charity that is near and dear to our hearts.


The Basics:

Location: York, PA (John Rudy Park)

Timing: They capture your bib and time at the finish

Course: Grass, trail

Size: Medium (about 125)


Start in the foreground, finish line in the background

Pre-Race: I signed up using the Pretzel City registration.  There is a BIG warning banner telling you not to refresh your browser while registering or you may be charged twice.  (The warning is really big).  Of course I mention this because I refreshed the site when it seemed to have stopped responding.  Oops.  To their credit I was contacted within a few hours by the race director via email inquiring if I had a second runner.  I begged forgiveness and asked them to apply my second entry as a donation to the American Heart Association.

They have three options for registrations: no shirt, cotton shirt, moisture wicking shirt.  I love having the different choices.  I have seen more races making the shirt optional and I think it is a great idea.  I went with the cotton shirt.

They also offered two packet pickups.  The night before the race and the morning of the race.  Once again, the more options the better.  I went with race day pick up.  For smaller races there is rarely a long line for packet pick up.

Race Day: I showed up at John Rudy Park about an hour before the race began.  It was a warm sunny morning.  It was a perfect day for a run in the park.

Everything was easy.  There is plenty of parking at the park.  Packet pickup is close to the parking area and it was a breeze. I had lots of time to stretch out in the shade before the race began.

Josh Leik provided live entertainment before, during and after the race, playing The Grateful Dead.  It was a nice compliment to the tie dye theme of the race.


Josh Leik

Before the race began, there was a prayer, some wonderfully inspiring words from Missy Mulcahy and then a fantastic performance of the Star Spangled Banner.

The Race:  The Wednesday before the race I felt a stabbing pain in my calf while running a slow 4 miler.  I spent the rest of the week treating my calf and hoping I would be good to go by Sunday.  I think I knew in my heart it was too soon but I really wanted to run a race.

I started out fine.  My pace was a little fast and I knew I would pay for it later in the race.  Almost every course around the York area is hilly so if you don’t calculate that into your race plan you may find yourself struggling.  I was excited to be running again so I just went out and figured I would adjust my pace later if necessary.

Later turned out to be the 1.3 mile mark when I once again felt a stabbing pain in my  calf.  I probably should have just walked to the finish line, but I have never been that smart and the race theme was “Run with Heart”.  I knew I had to walk, jog or crawl to the finish line.

I settled on a jog/walk combo. A couple of volunteers asked if I was OK so I apparently I did not look very graceful. (Thanks to the volunteers for checking on me).  It was ugly and it was painful but I kept chugging along.  I passed a Beagle with his human and when I exclaimed “Beagle!” he gave me some signature Beagle baying.  The owner said that was his way of offering encouragement.  Having just lost my best Beagle friend, Denver, I took it as a sign.

Denver – best dog ever

I did finish (eventually).  Hobbling across the finish line in 37:52.  It was possibly my slowest 5k ever, but I was proud to at least finish on my feet.

The course was marked very well with volunteers and red heart balloons to show you the way.

Post Race:  They had bagels , watermelon, assorted chips, granola, water.  They held a raffle for a bunch of gift cards as well as a silent auction.



Post Race – tie dye everywhere!


Goodies: I got my cotton T-shirt and a goodie bag with lost of coupons for local businesses such as Flying Feet Sports, White Rose Bar and Grill and Power Train Fitness.


Overall:  You have to try this race next year.  If you are in the area and you enjoy walking or running this is a GREAT race.  You get the amenities of a big race with a smaller crowd.  Inspiring atmosphere.  It is worth every penny.  Please come out next year and support this great cause and honor the memory of Mark Mulcahy.





You can see the heart shaped balloons marking the path to the Finish Line.





New York Warrior Dash


This year my daughter wanted to try a Warrior Dash.  She has completed a handful of 5Ks and she doesn’t mind getting muddy so she met all of the prerequisites.  The Warrior Dash is a good beginner mud run.  It isn’t as easy as the Your First Mud Run and it wasn’t as difficult as the Rugged Maniac.  If you want an overview of all of these other races, I have placed links at the end of this post.

 This was my third Warrior Dash.  I won’t dwell on all of the things that they have in common with one exception.   St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  They have raised more than 14 MILLION DOLLARS to date.

The Basics:

Location: Camp Warwick, the Warwick, NY

Timing: None (unless you are in the competitive wave)

Course: Trail, mud, obstacles

Size: X-Large (but it is broken into medium sized waves)


Parking:  There was a shuttle back and forth from the car parking area (an elementary school) to the race instead of onsite parking..  We usually bring a few gallons of water to wash off any lingering mud, and change by the cars.  Instead we had to bring a bag with clothes and change at the after-party.  On the plus side, there was no waiting for the shuttles.  They ran continuously throughout the day.

Starting Line: This was the first year I saw someone checking wave times at the starting line.  They had two volunteers standing at the opening of the corral checking bibs.  You may need to be creative/sneaky if you want to switch waves.

Photos: My sister brought her camera and triple sandwich bagged it.  It was a pain to take out and put away, but we were in no rush and she got a lot of great pictures and video.

The course: The course was very hilly.  The first two miles were a struggle. Up and down, up and down we went through the mountain trails with a couple of obstacles stuck in the middle to break up the monotony.  I appreciate the distance between the start and the obstacles; it gives time for the pack to spread out.

Obstacles: I swear this was the easiest Warrior Dash at least when it comes obstacles. There were no muddy mounds that forced you work together to get up a hill.  Goliath didn’t have the wet balance beam between the cargo net and the slide. The only obstacle we all struggled with was the “Fisherman’s Catch”.  We were all too short to reach the overhead rings and I think we all fell into the cargo net.  I have video and photographic evidence:

Lines: Great lines for obstacles.  Most of the obstacle races get bogged down at the obstacles.  The lines on this day were excellent.  I don’t think I had to wait for anything.  I don’t know if that is the result of being in one of the preferred waves (aka more expensive), or if the attendance at the Warrior Dash is waning.

Cleaning Up: They had a shower system setup at the bottom of the hill. The water for the showers came directly out of the nearby stream so a lot of people skipped the showers and went directly into the stream.  The water was COLD and the weather was cool.  Once you immersed yourself in the stream it was cold but manageable.  It was also much easier to scrub the mud off you.  I don’t think my daughter was a big fan, but eventually we coaxed her into the water.  They had a changing tent (at the top of the hill) so there was a little privacy.  I think we all prefer changing in/by the cars.


Favorite Moments:

The mud: It was like swimming through thick dirty chocolate pudding.  It was gross.  It is always gross.

Fire jumping photo: The actual fire jumping is always a bit of a let down (I don’t think an insurance company would allow you to have a fire event where there was a real danger of roasting participants).  That being said, it always makes for a great photo.


Goliath Pictures: I loved the slide and Kayleigh hated it.  By the looks on our faces, you would have thought it was the other way around.  I look like I am sliding into a pit of cobras.

After the race:  We had an awesome breakfast in a nearby convenience store.  Taylor ham, egg and cheese on a hard roll is one of the greatest creations in North Jersey.  The bagels are also superior to anything we have found in PA or Maryland.


Goodies:  The usual stuff.  Shirt, hat and medal (wood block).  I think I will run with my hat next time.


Other Mud Run Reviews:

Here is my review of the 2016 Rugged Maniac: https://mdracereviews.com/2016/07/12/rugged-maniac/

Here is my review of the 2015 PA Warrior Dash: https://mdracereviews.com/2015/08/31/pennsylvania-warrior-dash-2015/

Here is my review of the  2014 Maryland Warrior Dash: https://wordpress.com/post/23899686/816/

Here is my review of the 2014 Your First Mud Run: https://mdracereviews.com/2014/05/05/your-first-mud-run/

Here is my Review of the 2011 Run For Your Lives: https://mdracereviews.com/2011/11/08/run-for-your-lives-literally-sort-of/




Lehigh Valley NEDA Walk 2017

“Eating disorders are like a gun that’s formed by genetics, loaded by a culture and family ideals, and triggered by unbearable distress.” -Aimee Liu

“I am forever engaged in a silent battle in my head over whether or not to lift the fork to my mouth, and when I talk myself into doing so, I only taste shame.” -Jena Morrow

“A serious illness is like an earthquake, devastating at its epicenter with pain and suffering radiating outward to friends and family.”


NEDA Mission:  NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.

The Basics:

Location: Allentown, PA

Timing: Nope, just walking and enjoying nature

Course: A 1 mile walk through the park

Size: Small (about 50 or so)

Pre-Walk:  My family is far from perfect, but I KNOW that when the chips are down we will always be there for each other. So yesterday we walked for my niece, Julie.  I am so proud of her for reaching out and not remaining silent when she realized she needed help. I am proud of her for fighting the fight each day. I am proud of her for not giving up or giving in. I need her to know that when the road ahead seems dark or unsure that her family will always be there.



Walk Day: We arrived around 0930 for the 10am walk.  The weather was threatening to rain out our walk, but it held out (mostly).  We don’t usually get the NJ clan and the PA clan together in the same place so we took a ton of pictures.  A special thanks to the Stephanie from CoveryBox.com for taking the picture of the whole gang.

Before we started the walk, we were able to hear some individual stories from others who have struggled with eating disorders.  The stories were poignant, tragic, inspiring and triumphant.  I don’t think there was a dry eye in the group.  One thing that resonated with me was that this is an illness and it needs to be treated as such.  If you have cancer, you go to a doctor for treatment.  It isn’t a secret you need to hide from family and friends.  The stigma associated with mental illness often prevents those who require treatment from getting the help they need.  We must all work together to remove the shame and fear of having an eating disorder.


The Walk: The park itself is beautiful.  We started at the Allentown Fish Hatchery or “Li’l-Le-Hi” Trout Nursery and meandered down a half mile to a funky red covered bridge. It was a nice relaxing walk and a great chance to see and catch up with the New Jersey Chamberlin clan. Everyone was very friendly and there was a real sense of community amongst the walkers.

Post Walk: After the walk we were quick to get to our cars.  The weather was not treating us kindly and we all had over hour and half rides to NJ and Southern PA. It would have been nice to have had some better weather so we could talk to some of the other participants and hear their stories.


The Goodies: Stephanie, the founder of Coverybox had a booth setup by the registration table and her product is something I was looking for a few months back.  CoveryBox is the very first gift box service designed to support, encourage, and inspire women struggling with mental illness and addiction while they are in treatment or the recovery process. A great gift anytime, and a way to remind someone that you are thinking of them during their recovery. Check it out.

The NEDA shirt.  It is actually a magical shirt.  Why is it magic?  The shirt in the picture clearly grey, but in real life it is more like a teal blue. Maybe this isn’t the coolest magical power, but maybe I haven’t tested it fully.  Want a magic shirt?  Participate in a NEDA walk.  They are all over the country and they are growing.

So far this walk has raised over 8K but they are still short of their 15K goal.  If you are interested in making a donation, visit their website: https://nedawalk.org/lehighvalley2017





Need someone to talk to? Toll Free Number: 1-800-931-2237


12th Annual Clarabeth 5K

I have been looking to volunteer for a great race for a great cause and I finally found it.  On Sunday September 18th I am volunteering for the 12th Annual Clarabeth 5k to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer in York PA.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider adding this race to your race calendar. 
Run/Walk Information
Event Location: John Rudy Park – York, PA
Event Date: Sunday September 18, 2016
Interested in volunteering?  Contact the race director: Vanda Soldati <vsoldati@ovarian.org>


This event is held in memory of Clarabeth Grossman, who battled courageously for two years against ovarian cancer until her death in 2006 at the age of 55. Clarabeth was a long-time resident of York, PA and worked for the York Suburban School District for 19 years. She was instrumental in implementing the first Run/Walk for ovarian cancer awareness in York. She attended the first two events and today, her family, local volunteers, and the NOCC continue to spread awareness through this event in her honor and in honor of all those affected by ovarian cancer.

Please join us this year as we take 150 million steps across the country in celebration, remembrance, and support of ovarian cancer fighters everywhere. The steps we take together represent the progress we make towards our goals:

•  Empowering our community

• Supporting quality of life initiatives for survivors and caregivers

• Promoting early awareness so all women know the signs and symptoms

• Investing in cutting-edge research until we find the cure for ovarian cancer

We join together to take these steps because with action, there is hope

Hope to see you there!

The Hard(est) Cider Run

I signed up for this race for the cider.  I didn’t really care where it was or what the race distance was.  I was in it for the cider.  Lucky for me it was in Biglerville, PA which is about an hour away from where I live.

An hour seems to be about as far as I am willing to travel for most races (although maybe a little further for cider).

I was also happy to learn it was a 5K.  I didn’t really pay attention to the “The Hardest” in the “Hardest Cider Run”.  How hard could it be?


Hauser Estates Winery Entrance

The Basics:

Location: Biglerville, PA (Hauser Estate Winery)

Timing: Chip timed

Course: Orchard/trail (and a hill or 2)

Size: Large (about 500 competitors, smaller waves)

Pre-Race: Sign up was simple.  There were various waves for different abilities.  I went for 0830 which was the last of the runner waves. For the adventurous, there was also a second race called the Hungry Apple.  In addition to running 3 miles, you had to eat a donut each mile. Eating and running hasn’t been a great combination for me so I passed on the second race.  For those willing to accept the challenge, there is a second medal to show off your eating/running prowess.  I received an email a few days prior to the race that gave you some last minute details.

Race Day: I arrived at 0700 for my 0830 wave.  I had no idea what sort of crowd to expect so I went early (I almost always go early).  90 minutes early was plenty.  I had no problem parking and walked right up to the registration booth to pickup my packet where I had a brief registration scare.  Turns out she spelled my name ChamberLAIN not ChamberLIN (a common, infuriating problem for the -LIN branch of the family tree).  It is spelled the way it sounds.  …but I digress.

I heard people discussing “The Hill”. It is mentioned on the website and I overheard two runners discussing it.  They showed me where it was on the course but you really don’t get a good feel for it until you are on the bottom of The Hill trying to climb up it. I waited for the 0800 wave to attack the hill and it seemed like 50% ran the entire hill and the other 50% walked / ran it.

The view from the top of The Hill

The view from the top of The Hill

The Race: Our wave went off on time at 0830.  The race wasn’t very crowded and I think I could have run in any of the waves. You immediately head down the hill back toward the entrance of the Estate.  You run about hallway down before cutting across and then back up to The Hill.

I can proudly say I conquered The Hill.  My legs were burning and I struggled but I ran up the entire hill.  The race then skirts the property with gently rolling hills.  I was slow and steady.

Then we wound our way almost all the way to the bottom of the estate again.  I knew I would have to make the slow long climb (3/4 mile) back to the finish.  The slope wasn’t to bad but it was constant.  I broke at the 2.25 mile mark.  Hot and tired, I had to switch to a walk/run to the finish line which I find in 33:19 seconds. In addition to a medal, you receive your commemorative glass and your choice of a dry or sweet Jack’s Cider.

This is what is at the end of the rainbow

This is what is at the end of the rainbow

Post Race: They gave out bananas and water at the finish.  They had a pretty nice after party.  There was a band playing and, food trucks selling pizzas, grilled cheese, BBQ and other yummy treats. If I had brought someone else with me I would have hung out for a little while.  Maybe next time. I did purchase 2 six packs of Jack’s Cider (Helen’s Blend and Peach).  I tried one of the Helen’s blend and really liked it.  Sweet, but not overwhelming.

The after party

The after party

The Goodies: The glass, the cider, and the medal.


Finish line loot

The race shirt


Yep, it is a shirt





My stash

My stash

Lititz recCenter Triathlon


Lititz, PA bills itself as the “Coolest Small Town in America”.  It received that honor back in 2013.  Since my sister, niece are the coolest triathlon team we figured this race would be a good fit for us.  Julie would be our swimmer, I would bike, and Kim would anchor the team with her run.

Completing a triathlon is on my bucket list but, so far I have only finished them as a member of a relay team.  Next year I may actually try to complete this race myself.  The run is 300 meters, the bike is 15.8 and the run is a 5K.  Since I am not much of a swimmer this distance might be good for me. If you are looking for a first triathlon this might be a great race to check out.  There isn’t a huge field, and the atmosphere was very friendly.


Coolest triathlon team 

The Basics:

Location: Lititz, PA

Timing: Chip timed

Course: Pool, road, road

Size: Medium (about 125 competitors)


Ready to Race

Pre Race:  Lititz is only about 45 minutes from where I live so Kim and Julie came down the night before. They arrived at our house the same time we came back from our vacation in South Carolina. We were all exhausted but we needed to prepare for the race so we ate Chipotle burrittos and Fractured Prune donuts.  I am pretty sure that is the recommended pre-race dinner according to Runner’s World magazine.

Kim and Julie surprised me with our wonderful team t-shirts:


Race Day: Turns out the Chipotle diet is not the best choice for the night before a race.  Two of us were gastro-suffering the next morning.  I think this is starting to become a theme for me.

We arrived at 0700 for our 8:27:45 second start time.  There was a ton of parking and it was only a very short walk to the registration table and the transition areas.  It took us 5 minutes to check-in, get marked with our race number and procure our timing chip.  Once we were all checked in, we put my bike in the transition area and headed to the restrooms.

We were busy wandering around and missed the start of the pre-race briefing.  Luckily we didn’t miss anything critical.

The Race:

Swim:  Julie was our champion swimmer.  They provided the swimmers with a very exact start time.  Julie was 8:27.45 or something like that.  The swim took place in the  outdoor rec center pool . A new swimmer started every 10-15 seconds to give individuals some space. The swimmer had to go across the pool and back in one lane then switch to the next lane. Repeat. You had to go back and forth until you got to the end of the pool.


Julie headed to the bike transition

There was definitely some congestion in the pool, especially if you wanted to pass.  I imagine there were a few head-on collisions (although I didn’t see any).  The faster swimmers went first which probably helped the melee.  I also saw a few people lose their timing chips (a race volunteer gave them back when you existed the pool).  There was a little lip when you exited the pool and one poor gentleman tripped as he tried to run from the pool to the bike area.

I missed most of this because I was suffering from my chicken fajita burrito.  I did get to see Julie hop in the pool and swim the first lap before heading to the bike area.

Bike: I have never claimed to be much of a cyclist.  I don’t have a fast triathlon style bike.  I ride my hybrid.  I am not a big fan of going fast downhill (I believe that is a result of a rollerblading accident a long time ago).  Bottom line: I am not very good at biking.  That being said, every triathlon team needs a cyclist and I meet that criteria.

I liked the course MUCH better than the one I rode in the Ft Ritchie Duathlon.  There were rolling hills and a few steeper climbs (by my limited standards).  The scenery was mainly farms and corn, but there were some beautiful views along the way. The course is open to traffic, but I don’t think too many cars passed me during my 16 mile jaunt.

The course was marked very well and I still almost made a wrong turn.  One of the other riders saw my confusion and pointed me in the right direction.

The volunteers out on the course did a superb job stopping traffic.  I have to thank the gentleman that started to hop in front of a pickup truck (it looked like Santa Claus was driving) that wasn’t stopping for me to cross.  That isn’t an exaggeration.  This guy yelled at the truck to stop three times and after the third time started to move in front of the truck.  That finally got the driver’s attention. Thank you keeping me and the rest of the other riders safe.  It must have been a long hot day for those volunteers and they deserve some praise.

I did come across one intersection that didn’t have any volunteers and traffic that wasn’t stopping for riders.  I did have to stop and wait which wasn’t a big problem for me but it could have been for really good cyclists.


Finish line thumbs up

Run: I didn’t get to see much of the course, but my sister described it as hilly and hot.

IMG_3580 (1)

Kim at the finish

Below are the official results.  We were 9 out of 11 which is better than 11 out of 11.  I believe our weakest event was the bicycle.  I suck, but we had fun and I would do it again.  Maybe next year the three of us will try to complete the whole race.

Bib Number 112
RELAY – MIXED 9 of 11
Gender F
Age 0
Start Time 08:27:45
Swim 00:06:54
T1 00:01:00
Bike 01:07:28
T2 00:00:33
Run 00:31:00
Elapsed 01:46:58

Post-Race: They had the usual finish line fare:  bagels, Gatorade, water, bananas, oranges and granola bars.  They had a tent with a few laptops setup so you could check your results almost instantly.

After the race we went to the Knight and Day Diner.  I only mention this because we ran into a husband and wife, who were race volunteers, eating breakfast.  Volunteers who were out on the bike course stopping traffic.  It turned out to be the gentleman who was prepared to hop in front of Santa and his pickup truck.  In retrospect I should have paid for their breakfast.  If you read this, thanks again and I owe you a breakfast next year.

In an unrelated note, the breakfast at Knight and Day was terrific, but they are missing the NJ staple, Taylor Ham.

Goodies:  The technical t-shirt.





Rugged Maniac

There Will Be Blood

My sister, niece and I decided to run this race last year while we were at the Warrior Dash. While we had fun at the dash, we didn’t find too many of the obstacles very challenging. One of the other participants overheard the conversation and volunteered that the Rugged Maniac had a lot more obstacles.  So without researching the race, I signed us up in March.


Mount Maniac

The Basics:

Location: Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ

Timing: $10 for a timing chip (we skipped it)

Course: Mud, muck and obstacles

Size: Extra-Large (medium size waves every 15 minutes)


Helping Hands on the Warped Wall

Pre-Race:  No problems registering.  The earlier waves seem to fill up fast so I would register early if you want one of them.  The earlier waves offer a less beat up course / obstacles.  The earlier you register the less you have to pay.

We signed up for the noon wave. Of course 6 months later I couldn’t remember what time I had selected and I couldn’t find my confirmation email.  I emailed the folks at Rugged Maniac and received a confirmation of our race time and a copy of our registration with a few hours.

I also received an email in the days leading up to the race from the race director that included helpful tips, and a map of the course.

Race Day: My niece, Julie, stayed out all night the night before the race.  I have no idea how she managed to survive the day.  I would have never made it through.  In addition to being tired, she had already tore up her knee the night before so she would be running with a handicap.  My sister, Kim and I would be running with our own handicap, old age.

We arrived an hour before our race time so we had plenty of time to register. The lines were a little long and a little slow, but I have seen worse. They combined the registration with the “Free Beer” ticket, and “Over 21” wristbands. I always suggest showing up early b/c I hate being rushed.

We had time to waste so we wandered around the Party Zone.  They had a bunch of vendors giving away free samples so we grabbed a few and looked around.  I was bamboozled by the Coconut Water folks.  They convinced me that the Lemonade flavor Coconut Water tasted “exactly like lemonade”.  Lies! It tasted like barf.

My sister and I also had time to ride the mechanical bull, who I named FuManchu. I don’t think either one of us missed a calling as a bull-rider.


The Race:  Unlike some other races, you had to run in the wave you sign up for.  They check your bib before you get to the start line.

It was a mudfest.  From the first obstacle to the last there was mud everywhere. I was waist deep in the mud before we reached the quarter-mile mark.  He are some of the highlights /low-lights from the obstacles.

Head Scratcher- Low crawling through barbed wire through the mud.  There was a team of three girls in camouflage and one of them got her hair stuck in the wire.  Unable to easily back out and untangle herself, she asked for her friends to cut it.  That is the Rugged Maniac spirit.  It was also one of many times I saw people helping each other overcome obstacles.

Bang the Gong- By the time we reached this obstacle they had taken away the trampolines you were supposed to use to jump and slap the gong hanging above the muddy waters. Instead of bouncing you just had to take a leap and hope for the best.  All three of us fell short of the mark. We didn’t miss our callings as basketball players.

Frog hop- You were supposed to leap from lily pad to lily pad without falling into the pond.  My frog skills were lacking and I crashed into the water after the first 3.  Kim and Julie made it across.  Much better frogs than I.

The Ringer- Cross the water by swinging from ring to ring.  We all failed miserably.  Most people didn’t make it.  The rings are slippery. My old people arms can’t hold my chubby body while swinging on rings, but lets blame the slippery rings.

The Accelerator- The final slide before the finish line.  The water was starting to get low and we all slid into the hay bales at the back of the pool.   Actually I slid into Julie at the back of the pool.  Sorry Jules.


The Gaunlet-  Run across the platform while big bags swing back and forth trying to knock you over.  The bags are MUCH lighter than you think and you can bull your way straight through them.  Unless you slip off the mat and into the water like my sister.

Warped Wall- Harder than I thought.  It was made more difficult from hours of wet muddy people trying to climb it before us. The volunteers on top probably had the most difficult job of the day.  Hauling dead weight like me over the wall all day long had to be exhausting. Julie persevered and made it up ion the 6th try.  My sister opted for the ladder climb after a couple of tough falls.

Balance or Bust-  We all tumbled into the drink.  None of us even made it halfway.  All of the balance beams were connected together so they all swayed at the same time. We didn’t miss our callings as gymnasts.

Commando Crawl- Crawl under barbed wire down a muddy hill, through a rocky, muddy, ouchy mud pit and then back up another muddy hill under the barbed wire.  You really had to work to climb up the muddy slippery hill.  I had to dig my nails into the mud to claw my way to the top.  I also had to lend a hand to two people coming up behind me that got stuck.  It took three days to get the mud out from under my nails.

The Trenches- Jump over trenches.  The distance increased between the trenches.  Kim made one of the jumps by the skin of her big toe.

Ninja Escape- If you have seen the Ninja Warrior show on TV, they always start with hopping back and forth between wooden ramps over water.  This was like that, but without water.  I saw a lot of people wipeout on the muddy/slippery ramps.  Wipe out bad.

Some of the easier obstacles were the Pack Mule (carry a 25lb bag for 25 feet), Claustrophobia (dark tunnel), and Anti-Gravity (bounce to a cargo net).

We had a great time.  The course was rough but we survived.  After 2 hours of playing in the mud we crossed the finish line.  Bloody but proud.

A special “Thank You” to the guy who helped my sister when a careless chubby guy slid down a hill and pinned her leg under him (that would be me).  Sorry Kim.


The Accelerator

Post Race: At the finish line they gave you hand wipes (like you get when you eat ribs).  Covered from head to toe in mud and they give you a few hand wipes.  It was a little strange.  They also handed out the medals, water, some fruit and some energy drinks.

We meandered to the shower area and donated our sneakers.  My sneakers had survived a half marathon, two mud runs and a color run. I think a shed a tear when I left them behind.

The “shower” is basically a hose with a bunch of holes poked through it.  The lines weren’t very long and there were bars of soap and bottles of shampoo strewn about if you wanted it. Julie was horrified that people would share soap.  “You don’t know where that soap has been,” was her perspective.  Kim and I used them anyway. Wiping away the mud revealed dozens of scrapes and cuts. None of us escaped the Rugged Maniac without sacrificing some blood.

Goodies: The shirt and the medal.


Cotton shirt and the medal



Color Festival of Fire and 5K

**Originally this race was supposed to be held back in April, but due to some horrible weather, the organizers made the difficult decision to postpone it until the 4th of July when it would coincide with the Jacobus July 4th Blast.**

Here is my review from last year: https://mdracereviews.com/2015/04/12/color-festival-of-fire-and-5k-jacobuspa/

The race was supported by the Festival of Fire Foundation, an organization which helps local communities raise money for PPE / Fire Equipment or special causes. The Jacobus Color Festival of Fire and 5K would raise money to benefit the Jacobus Lions Ambulance, Local Fire Companies and Gift of Life.

My mother, father and younger brother all worked for the Hawthorne Ambulance Corps, so I appreciate all these volunteers do for the community. I vividly remember my parents rushing out the door whenever the police scanner would broadcast a call for assistance.

When we moved to the area over a year ago, we looked at a number of homes in Jacobus.  I was pretty sure that was where we were going to end up, but it was not meant to be.

Quick Wikipedia Fact: Jacobus was originally named New Paradise but was renamed due to misdelivered mail to Paradise, PA. The first name of the local postmaster at the time was Jacob and mail was delivered to Jacob US-Mail which became JacobUS (Jacobus).

I don’t know if anyone else cares, but I found it interesting.


Stage 1 of a Color Run (clean)

The Basics:

Location: Jacobus, PA

Timing: No timing

Course: Road / Trail

Size: Small

Pre-Race:  We signed up for this race so long ago that I barely remember doing it. I know it was online and it was a breeze.  The race directors did an excellent job informing everyone via email Facebook when they had to change dates due to the bad weather.  I believe they offered refunds to those who asked. Everyone else would automatically be entered in the race on the new date (4th of July).  If I couldn’t make it on the 4th I would have considered the money a donation to a good cause. Luckily we were in town and we were ready to go.  Kay had a blast last year and was looking forward to it again.

Race Day:  We missed picking up our packets on the day before the race, but they had race day pickup starting at 0700.  We left the house at 0710 and we were there by 0713.  We parked at Dallastown Area Intermediate School which had a TON of parking.  We walked a block to the Jacobus Lions Club Ambulance Building.  I don’t think it took us more than 5 minutes to get our shirts and bags.

We had time to kill before the race so we purchased 2 bags of color ($4) to get into the spirit of the race. They planned to have two heats, faster people first and then a slower group.  We joined the faster group, because we were ready to go and didn’t want to wait around for another heat.


Stage 2 of a Color Run (messy- at the start)

The Race:  Color Runs are not for the serious racers.  You can run as fast as you like, but the enjoyment is in the camaraderie with people around you. We walked / ran whenever we pleased.  The course starts off on the street (open to traffic) and winds its way down a local trail (Hollow Creek Greenway Trail).  Along the way was plenty of color stops.  The course went back on mostly the same trail, so you got pelted twice in some places.  The race wasn’t too crowded so we really, really got a ton of color.  I think we got hit 9-10 times.  It was crazy.  I got color crushed at the blue, purple and yellow stations.


The Purple Station near the Finish Line clobbered you with color

Post Race: At the end of the race, you were awarded with another color packet to go crazy with. The race was in conjunction with the Jacobus Blast 4th of July party so there were a ton of activities going on.  There was free water at the finish and there were lots of food trucks at the festival to satisfy any food desire you may have had.  Kayleigh found “Volcano drinks” and I knew she would have to get one before we left.

Throughout the day they had a ton of activities.  A children’s parade (see pictures below), games, local vendors, food trucks, baseball games and it all concluded with the Fireworks show.


Stage 1 of a Color Run (clean)

The Goodies: In addition to the white T-shirt, and a bunch of local coupons, you get a drawstring bag to carry all of your stuff in. You also get to look like this:


Stage 3 of a Color Run

This is a great first 5k.  Everyone is laid back and easy-going.  The event isn’t timed so there is no pressure to perform.  It is perfect for families looking to get out together or a group trying to do some team / morale building.  The Jacobus event is better than most of the larger events you will find.  This event provided more elbow room, better scenery and more color than the others I have done. We had a great time for a great cause.

Bonus pictures from the Children’s Parade:





York Habitat for Humanity 5K

I wish we lived in a world where everyone had their basic needs met.  I wish we all had a roof over our heads and enough food on the table.  Maybe not a mansion and a feast, but the ability to keep warm and dry and your belly full.

York Habitat for Humanity is trying to lead us in the right direction. York Habitat For Humanity’s Vision Statement is simple but profound: “A community where everyone has a decent place to live.”  York Habitat provides a “hand up, not a hand out” by offering qualified families interest free, 30 year mortgages.

The Basics:

Location: Dover, PA

Timing: Clock Timing

Course: Road

Size: Small (Around 100)


Start / Finish Line

Pre Race: I actually had some issues trying to sign up for the race.  I was using the website to sign up and every time I got to the checkout portion of the registration I would get a error saying the transaction could not be processed.  I tried different browsers on different computers but received the same error.  I emailed the POC on the website and they squared me away within 24 hours.  I don’t mind problems registering if they are handled quickly (and this was).  I admit I was a little nervous that I would show up on race day and they would have no record of my race entry.

I loved that they offer the choice of race shirt or no race shirt. For $5 I got one and it was well worth the money.  If you have a gazillion shirts you could save your cash.  I appreciate when races give you the option.

Race Day: I showed up at 0745 for the 0830 start time.  I was able to park at the end of the street near the start line / registration tent / DJ.  The parking lot I was in was small but there seemed to be ample spots in the local neighborhood. A few local businesses allowed runners to use their lots as well.

My worries about a lost registration were for naught, my registration was waiting for me and I had my shirt and goodie bag in about 2 minutes.

The race starts and finishes on Allen Lane which is referred to as the “Field of Dreams”.  Sixteen of the homes in the neighborhood were built by Habitat for Humanity.


Allen Lane “Field of Dreams”

The Race: I thought we might enjoy a flat road race.  I was wrong.  The course was out and back over rolling hills. The mile markers seemed spot on.  They had a water stop at the halfway point.

The race went very well for me.  Nothing weird or out of the ordinary happened.  No gastrointestinal issues, no hissing geese, no slippery hills, no unexpected snow.  Just a nice quiet race.  I quietly finished in a respectable 26:33.

Post Race: They handed out ice-cold towels at the finish line.  Love that.  Especially on a hot day. I only had water, but I saw the usual assortment of snacks and donuts.

I checked the results board (another touch that I love) so I could see how I did immediately.  I swear when I looked initially, it said I was second for my age group (which surprised me).  I texted my wife and family (who was driving in from NJ) with the good news and let them know I might be getting home a little later than expected.

I walked to my car, and got my glasses (I usually don’t run with them on).  I went to check my time on the results board and I realized I was 7th, not 2nd for my age group.  I hope they updated the results between my initial glance and my second check of the results.  Otherwise it is just a case of poor eyesight. I sheepishly texted my family and let them know the 7th place finisher would be home as expected.

I did stay another 10 minutes and cheered on a bunch of the finishers before heading home.  I was very pleased with my time and how well I felt throughout the run.  Overall a good day and a successful run.

The Goodies: The Tech Shirt and coupons to some local businesses.





How you can help….

Hay It’s a 5K (York SPCA)

I happen to see a flyer for this race at my local True Value Hardware store.  I thought my daughter might be interested in a 5K that would support horse rescues.  I was right.  Although she hadn’t run since the GOTR 5k last year, she was interested in the Hay It’s A 5K which was held by the York SPCA. It was too late to sign up online so we would have to register on race day. If they hold this race again next year (and I hope they do), I would advertise the race with Running in the USA in addition to Active.com.  They did an excellent job of getting the word out with the flyers, but the more press the better.

York SPCA Mission: The York County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is a charitable organization dedicated to providing long-term human and animal services to residents of York County through programs that find permanent, loving homes for displaced and stray animals, help control animal population growth, investigate and prosecute cruelty offenders and educate the general public about animal wellness and safety.


Codorus State Park

The Basics:

Location: Codorus State Park, PA

Timing: Clock Timing

Course: 95% horse trail with a little pavement

Size: Small (Around 100)

Pre-Race:  I didn’t pre-register for the race (which was a first for me).  I figured the race wouldn’t be too big, but I was worried we might not get a race shirt and I knew my daughter wanted one of the T-shirts.

Race Day: I woke up Saturday morning and my stomach was protesting going for a run.  I took 3 Imodium and hoped I would make it through the race with clean shorts.  On the way to the race I was 50/50 on if I would actually run or just watch my daughter. I thought maybe I could just hang with Kayleigh and motivate her through the race.

She wasn’t having any of that.  She specifically wanted to run the race on her own. I wasn’t thrilled about allowing my 12-year-old to run a course through the woods on her own, but I didn’t have a good reason to deny her.  So I begrudgingly gave her my approval. I gave her some encouragement and race tips and hoped for the best.  She never showed any fear or concern. I was proud.

There was plenty of parking and we were a two-minute walk to the registration table.  Registration was a breeze and we were lucky enough to get T-shirts.  I would register early next year so the T-shirt won’t be in doubt.  My daughter stole some money out of my wallet to donate to the York SPCA.  When I asked her how much she donated she told me “not to worry”.  I am glad we have raised a kid with such a kind heart.


Post Race photo

The Race: We started together in the middle of pack.  We ran together for the first 10o yards before I wished Kayleigh good luck, and told her to stay slow and steady.

The race was tough.  Not the toughest, but pretty rough.  It was hilly and primarily on muddy horse trails.  I knew if I found it challenging, my daughter would be struggling too.  It was hot, hilly and muddy from start to finish.  I am glad that the majority of the race took place in the shade.  If it had been a road race, the heat would have been oppressive.

I stuck with a slow and steady pace and had enough in the tank to finish strong at the 28:20(ish) mark (results have not been posted yet).

I walked back down the trail concerned about how my daughter would fare under such adverse conditions. I made it about 1/4 mile before I saw her green shirt in the distance walking along with another woman.  When she saw me she jogged up to meet me and give me a hug.  I poured water on her face, gave her a drink and told her it was time finish her business.

She dug deep and ran/walked the final rolling hills to the finish line and finished around the 42 minute mark. I was extremely proud.  She was alone, on a tough course, and she found the gumption to finish the race.  She also made a bunch of friends along the way. After the race a ton of people came up to her and congratulated her on sticking with it.  That’s my girl!


Kayleigh at the Finish Line!


Post Race:  They had water at the finish line.  They also had oranges, Rice Krispie treats, granola bars, and apples.  The best after-run perk had to be the homemade ice cream! Very refreshing. We cooled off and then had to run to the rest room (which was a good distance from the start/finish line).  We made it back just in time for the raffles and awards.  They had a ton of raffle giveaways (Kayleigh won Rutter’s coupons and a Road ID coupon).  The SPCA also recognized some of the long time volunteers.  The race director got teary (which made me a little teary) when she recognized Emma who had been there since their first horse rescue.


Thanks for your service Emma!

I got lucky and was recognized as second place in my advanced age group.  I received a horseshoe and a Hershey bar for my efforts.  The Hersey bar has gone MIA.


Second Place!

Goodies: We love the shirt! Kay won the coupons and I received the horseshoe for second place.


The Shirt, Horseshoe and coupons