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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

San Franciscans Got Dirty, Finished Strong in Big Sur's Mud Run Last Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 4:49 PM

Although many San Franciscans enlisted in Big Sur's fourth annual, military-sponsored Mud Run last weekend just for fun, a handful were dead-set on winning. I happened to catch a ride down with two serious mud-runners, Craig Baum and Andrew Wasserman, who both live in San Fran and work in finance.  

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Pre-race Wasserman, 25, (far left) and Baum, 24, (far right) with some L.A. friends

Baum was hands-down the most concerned with winning. "I seriously want to win everything I try to compete in," he admitted. Although he says didn't engage in any special training, Baum normally runs a few times a week. Additionally, his bulging pectorals and calves suggest he's pretty good shape. Wasserman, a former wide receiver for UNC Chapel-Hill's football team, is nothing to sneeze at either.

Although their L.A. friends had signed up for the Mud Run team competition (which meant all five members would have to cross the finish line together), Baum and Wasserman were running as individuals, which meant there would be no one to blame for a loss but themselves.

The race started out easy enough, with about two miles of dry land on the scenic California State University Monterey Bay campus. But everyone knew the mud was coming. The five-mile race included four giant pits, and each contained obstacles. Five-foot walls would have to be scaled; narrow wooden beams above mud pits would have to be navigated. Mud, in all likelihood, would have to be eaten.

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Military guides, stationed along the course, injected a fair amount of tough love into the race. They gave misinformation about how much up-hill terrain was ahead. They forced particiants to do push-ups. They kicked and splashed mud in all directions. Some runners wound up with mud-flooded eyeballs. Others had to dive in face first.

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Serious about winning, Baum left me and Wasserman in the dust pretty early on. According to the results page, he was running 7:30-minute miles, which was faster than anyone else from San Francisco. When

Baum arrived at the final mud pit, he pretty much dived in, and lost his right shoe in the process. He wasn't the only one.

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Recovered shoes.

Wasserman finished the race in 45th place with time of 43:55, behind five other San Francisco residents (Baum, Christopher Chan, Bruce Jang, Alan Yee, and Justin Boone). With mud dripping out of my ears, I finished 132nd. Baum sprinted the last portion of the race in one shoe, and wound up coming in at 39:38, which won him 15th place. He was okay with that, but noted that incident with the shoe -- which he eventually recovered -- might have held him back.

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Ashley Harrell


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