Runners have it pretty good in Southern California, where dry conditions are the rule.
Folks looking for the exception have a chance to tackle a perfectly--and intentionally-- dreadful course Saturday in Camp Pendleton. The base's first-ever 10K Mud Run is an obstacle course around Lake O'Neill, just north of Oceanside.
Participants, including a contingent of Marines, will negotiate muddy trails and roads, sometimes steep. They'll scale fences and cross rivers.
And, for a final touch, they will belly-crawl through a pit of water and mud.
Runners can leave their ultralight running shoes and nylon shorts at home. Everyone is required to wear boots and long pants for this one, as a matter of safety.
The Mud Run is primarily an event for six-member teams (military and civilian), and winners will be determined by the time of the fifth-fastest runner on each team. Individuals also can participate, however, and registration will be open on race day. The event is similar to the popular one held in years past at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.
Folks looking for a more conventional event can choose the sixth annual Huntington Beach Pier Run on Sunday. The scenic 5K course starts at the Huntington Beach Pier and follows the bike path through Blufftop Park.
More than 2,000 runners are expected for the event. For the first time, the men's and women's runs will begin separately (the men start at 7:30 a.m., the women at 8:30 a.m.). Walkers as well as runners are invited to take part, and participants are to arrive early to ensure a parking space (registration begins at 6 a.m.).
After the race, participants can stick around for an awards ceremony that features goodies from a variety of vendors.
What: 10K Mud Run.
When: Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m. (registration opens at 8 a.m.; race course information will be given at 9:45 a.m.).
Where: Lake O'Neill, Camp Pendleton.
Whereabouts: From the San Diego (5) Freeway, take the Camp Pendleton exit north of Oceanside and enter through the main gate. Continue along Vandergrift road for 9.5 miles to a traffic light and turn left onto Santa Margarita Road. Turn right just before the lake for parking.
Wherewithal: $84 for a six-member team, $20 for individuals (includes T-shirt).
Where to call: (619) 725-6836.
What: Huntington Beach Pier Run.
When: Sunday, July 17, 7:30 a.m. for men and 8:30 a.m. for women (registration opens at 6 a.m.).
Where: Starts and finishes at Huntington Beach Pier.
Whereabouts: From the San Diego (405) Freeway, exit south at Euclid Street; the street swings west and becomes Ellis Street. Continue as it turns into Main Street and follow it to the ocean.
Wherewithal: $20 (includes T-shirt).
Where to call: (714) 661-6062.
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