Muds to Suds

A dirty race to the finish line

Monday, August 19, 2013

In case of inclement weather, the second annual Muds to Suds race will most definitely not be cancelled.

In fact, those barreling headlong and foot-first into the 22 obstacles set up in a two-mile course throughout Ferndale’s Hovander Homestead Park will already be dealing with so much mud and dirty water they likely won’t even notice if the sky above them is dumping more liquid into the messy mix.

“A good mud race needs good, sticky and smelly mud,” event organizer Mel Monkelis says. “The farm fields at Hovander Park offer some of the best. It’s dark and sticks to everything.”

Monkelis says the pits will be filled back in when the Aug. 24-25 event comes to an end—per their agreement with Whatcom County Parks & Rec—but, for a handful of glorious and gutsy hours on Saturday and Sunday, the fields at the park will be a muddy playground for everyone from kids to teens to adults.

And, just in case you show up thinking there’s a chance you won’t get completely filthy, you should know before you even lace up your tennis shoes that there’s simply no chance you will get out clean. When looking at the descriptions of the nearly two dozen obstacles, phrases such as “sandbox on steroids,” “standing mud puddles,” “sand bar on the river,” “muddy swimming” and “paintballs” pop up, making it likely you won’t even be recognizable once you’ve come to the finish line.

Additionally, racers will also encounter, among other things, rope webs set up in trees, climbing walls, chill-inducing ice shavings, a sudsy blow-up slide, a pyramid of hay bales and swinging balls.

And, although the race focuses on burly tests of endurance, those who choose to skip an obstacle along the way won’t be chided for it.

“Racers can choose to walk around any obstacle they want,” Monkelis says. “The point of the Muds to Suds race is not to prove to yourself or others that you can ‘walk on barbed wire.’  The emphasis is on camaraderie and having fun. We encourage racers to help each other through the obstacles.”

Unlike most mud races happening around the country, spectators will be allowed past the start line, and can observe any of the obstacles—especially those that feature their friends or family members slogging through the wet stuff—from nearby.

“We purposely designed the course around the spectators so they could walk to any obstacle or mud pit and watch their kids or friends,” Monkelis says. “Allowing kids to race with their parents and grandparents is just fantastic as it really bonds family members. In this high-tech world we live in, it’s just nice to let go of technology and have good old-fashioned fun again.”

With an age range of 8 to 71, Monkelis stresses it’s not just a single demographic that chooses to spend a summer weekend getting dirty at Muds to Suds. He’s also not sure if the kids or the adults have more fun.

“That is a very hard question, for when you see the smiles on kids’ faces at the mud pits, it’s almost like Christmas in August,” Monkelis says. “But when you see the adults smiling as well, at each mud pit, and at the finish line, well, it’s a tossup.”

More Outdoors...
Nordic Night
Putting the kick in cross-country

“It’s the perfect way to fly,” my old trail crew buddy Tryg said as he jammed his ski poles into the snow and pushed off into the night.

He was right. Even moving uphill on a pair of heirloom Madshus 210s he glided over the groomers so quickly and with such little apparent effort…

more »
Couples Therapy
The ins and outs of love

If you’re not in the right frame of mind to commemorate Valentine’s Day by gazing at your paramour across a candle-lit table, we’ve compiled a few alternate ways to spend time with your sweeties of choice in the coming days. They all involve going outside for an extended period of time, so…

more »
Bringing students into the mountains

My life is focused in the mountains, so it is surprising how many local young people have never had the opportunity to visit our neighborhood peaks.

“So many kids in Whatcom County see Mt. Baker from the lowlands, but some never get the chance to experience the mountain environment,”…

more »
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award


17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival


Winter Camping Basics


Cuban Salsa

6:00pm|Bell Tower Studios

Bite of Blaine

6:00pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Pizza Party

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Rock & Gem Club Meeting

7:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Community Center

Rock and Gem Club Meeting

7:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Community Center

Swing Dance

8:00pm|Eagles Hall


9:30pm|Green Frog

IGN Cascadia Northwood Steak and Crab
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award


17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival


Farm-to-Table Trade Meeting

8:30am|Bellingham Technical College

Community Preparedness

2:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Baker Backcountry Basics


All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Putting the kick in cross-country


Dressings, Sauces and Stocks

6:30pm|Ciao Thyme Commons

Prawn Particulars

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op


7:00pm|Village Books

Books on Tap

7:00pm|North Fork Brewery

Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award


17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival


Community Coffee and Tea

9:00am|East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

Garden Design Class

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Ukulele for Everyone

4:00pm|Everson Library

Handmade Pasta Class

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Frankie Gavin

6:30pm|Leopold Crystal Ballroom

Kombucha and Kefir

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op


7:00pm|Village Books

Nothing simple about it


Mike Allen Quartet

7:00pm|Unity Spiritual Center

Panty Hoes

9:00pm|Rumors Cabaret

see our complete calendar »

IGN Cascadia Bellingham Farmer’s Market Village Books Northwood Steak and Crab Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Bellingham Technical College