The Color Run, Spartan Race, Mud Runs, Tough Mudders, Muddy Buddies…
These aren’t cheap races, but Americans are shelling out major money to participate.
Because we have to be clean and proper and polite and correct and germ-free all the time. Every day.
We sit in traffic, we sit behind desks, we sit in movies, we sit on couches. Messy races offer a chance to get dirty. Gritty. Bloody. Primal.
My favorite race has been my hardest race: the Bataan Memorial Death March marathon. 26.2 miles through desert mountains with a ruck on my back. Blood dripping from my face, sun burning my neck, blister juice squishing through my shoes… Pain. I paid for pain.
I called my best friend crying.
It was glorious.
We need mess and discomfort to remind us that we are human and we may have a soft, squishy outside, but we have a stony, salty center. In a world of hand sanitizer, “you can’t do that!”s, and time-outs, blood and guts are more refreshing than a pumpkin spiced latte and more satisfying than a paleo-pan cake.
Marathons, triathlons, ultras, adventure races…
Campfire hair, skinned knees, broken fingernails, torn jeans, sweat rings…
Mess is a necessary release valve, even if we have to pay for it.