I am a runner. I am what some would call a long distance runner, but for plenty of my running buddies, my half-marathon max distance is very short. I’ve participated in dozens of races, which require lots of training, but I’ve only been out to Shelby Farms at 6am 2 or 3 times for training runs, and it’s always been cold when I have.
The only reason that rivals a training run for best reasons to be at Shelby Farms before the sun rises is to help out with a charity run. The Dirty Girl Run is a girls (of all ages) muddy 5K obstacle course whose proceeds benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Maybe my favorite thing about the run series is that breast cancer survivors get to participate for free!
It was a lot of fun to work behind the scenes at a race. I handed out t-shirts to almost 600 people in about 2.5 hours. After having to say my script 600 times, I have a new-found respect for those who put on races. The last race I was in had about 20,000 participants, and I would have totally lost my voice if I had needed to go through the t-shirt sizing and bib-pinning information 19,400 more times. Actually, I would have lost my voice long before that.
Before the sun came up, it was really quite frosty with unwelcome cold weather since a mere 12 hours before it was sunny and 75, but once the sun came up, it was an absolutely gorgeous day. So beautiful, in fact, that I allowed my arm to be twisted to jump in and crawl through the last mud pit at the finish line. It really was a lot of fun, but the muddy water was quite cold. Pro-tip: if you’re going to jump into a mud pit when it’s 50 degrees outside, you should have some warm, dry clothes to ride home in.
The best way to do the Dirty Girl Run is to do the volunteer/runner combo. Volunteers get to do the course for free, so it’s a win-win for the race planners and participants.