NINE MILE FALLS, Wash. - Thousands of people trudged through three and a half miles of dirt, mud-filled pools, wall climbs and a host of other obstacles at the Dirty Dash Saturday.
This was the race’s third year running in Spokane. The venue was once again Riverside Park, but organizers moved the event to the off-road vehicle park area to alleviate the major traffic backups on Government Way drivers experienced the past two years.
“This year was better,” said Jon Hauger, who runs Dirty Dash every year. “The parking was a lot better. The mud’s a little better at the other site, but the course is better here.”
One thing that carried over from previous years was the huge turnout. In 2012, 4-6,000 racers showed up for the sludge-filled foot race. This year, the event sold out with 6,000 participants. Dirty Dash and similar races, such as Muddy Buddy, have been gaining popularity and take place in cities on both coasts of the country. Spokane is just one of 12 cities that host Dirty Dash every year.
"I think it's fun and everyone can do it, and it can kind of incorporate everything," said Dirty Dash runner Chaya Branham.
Branham’s race partner agreed.
“She’s a marathon runner.” Matt Fletcher added. “I can barely get off the couch and both of us can do it, so it's just fun.”
Dirty Dash sent runners in waves every 20 minutes starting Saturday morning into the afternoon. The participants ran, crawled, climbed, and even swam their way through more than three miles of trail, mud, and obstacles. The event staff had been out all week getting the course ready, using major mud puddles from the big storms a few weeks ago to make the course as slick and muddy as possible.
"I run a lot of competitive races and this one, for me, it's a fun one,” Hauger said while covered from head-to-toe in wet mud. “I don't have to run it for a time. I just run it to get as dirty as possible."