Everyone has their own definition of fun.
On Saturday afternoon, at least four Warren County residents will push themselves to the limit at Seven Springs Mountain Resort over three thousand feet in the air on a seven-mile course featuring 23 obstacles.
For Noelle Daniels, Lisa Wood, Sue Nielson, and Robert Warren, it's all in the name of having a good time.
Photo submitted to Times Observer
Nielson on the Mountain
At far left, Sue Nielson competes in the Mud on the Mountain race in May held in Seven Springs. Nielson will give it another go on Saturday — only this time, more mud!
Daniels, who will be competing in her ninth race of some sort in just the past several months, says the length and elevation are what make this event different from the rest.
"Most of these races are 5k, and when you add in the elevation it makes it even more interesting," said Daniels, who is traveling to Seven Springs with Wood, her friend.
For Wood, along with Nielson, Saturday will mark the second time traveling to Seven Springs for "Mud on the Mountain." Both competed in the spring version of the race back in May, although the course has undergone changes since that event.
"The worst obstacle was the eight foot wall," says Nielson of the race in which they will compete individually. "You were supposed to be climbing over this mountain of snow, but it was out in the sun so it was more like climbing up hail. We had ice burns on our hands from coming down the other side."
Wood considers Mud on the Mountain to be a good introduction to obstacle racing.
"The real difference between this and other events is that it isn't as competitive," he said. "It's more about the personal challenge. It's not timed. If you finish, you finish."
Less competitive does not mean easy.
Event organizers promise that Saturday's race will be more challenging than the May installment.
"I remember you started the course going up the black diamond hill (the steepest hill on the mountain)", says Wood. "You weren't running at that point, kind of just climbing to the top."
After the steep climb, participants will face the spider's nest (a grid of heavy rope), worm holes (underground tunnels), over-and-under logs, a barbed wire crawl, slides and ropes, along with a number of water obstacles.
Nielson recalls the water being roughly 40 degrees in May, and that number could drop this time around.
And, of course, there is the mud.
"We talked to the organizers in the spring and requested more mud," says Nielson.
It would appear that they listened; the official Mud on the Mountain website promises more mud will be added to every obstacle for Saturday's race.
Such an event requires a certain level of training, and all four Warren County competitors have been working hard to get ready.
Daniels utilizes both trail and city running to stay in shape, as well as elements of crossfit for strength training.
Nielson works out at the YMCA, and has spent the past two months kayaking at the reservoir.
Wood typically strength trains in the mornings and runs in the afternoon for cardio.
"I do a lot of H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training), I'll go all out for around 20 seconds then rest, and do five or six exercises like that."
Following the grueling event, Seven Springs offers competitors a 'Recovery Party' at the resort's own Foggy Goggle lounge. The party features a variety of activities, including a buffet and live entertainment for it's understandably tired guests.
For returning competitors, Saturday will have been a long time coming.
For first timers, it will offer a chance to see just what makes Mud on the Mountain different from other adventure races.