Best Competitions To Get Dirty Around Tampa Bay

April 12, 2013 9:00 AM

(Photo credit: WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

The phrase “good clean dirty fun” may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it’s the hallmark of one of the latest fitness trends. The idea of combining exercise with good-natured competition and a chance to get really dirty while doing so is one of the driving forces behind a whole series of races being staged in the Tampa Bay area and around the country. Get ready to get down, get dirty and have fun!

Picnic Island Adventure Runs
Picnic Island
7409 Picnic Island Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33616
(813) 232-5200

Dates: May 10, June 14 and July 12

Spectacular summer sunsets and the relatively tamed wilderness of Picnic Island so near the heart of Tampa make a perfect venue for the people who don’t mind getting a little (or maybe a lot) dirty while challenging their physical limits. The 3.6-mile routes take you over a surprising variety of terrain including beaches, cross country terrain and obstacles such as hurdles, tires and crawl-throughs. It’s guaranteed to leave you wet, dirty and sweaty, but that’s the point isn’t it? If just finding out what kind of shape you’re really in isn’t good enough, organizers are awarding trophies in numerous categories for competitors who make it to all three runs, and they promise the best post-race party and dinner you’ll find anywhere! The fee is $30 per race or $75 for all three.

Related: Best Running Clubs in Tampa Bay

Mudzilla Plant City
Prevatt Road Can County Road 574A
Plant City, FL 33563
(813) 719-0244

Date: May 18

The front page of the Mudzilla website declares proudly that its five-kilometer (3.1 mile) course is laid with an eye toward kicking your posterior. There’s also a section in the rules that requires entrants to acknowledge that Mudzilla is an “extreme” event so don’t say you weren’t warned. However, for those who would take that declaration as a challenge, there’s plenty of mud, sweat and fun to be had. The obstacles range from high hurdles to a miniature reconstruction of the Berlin Wall and a swamp stretch that promises to leave everyone absolutely filthy. Organizers promise at least 25 obstacles. Everyone who finishes gets a well-earned medal, but there are trophies for the top finishers. The registration fee is $59. From Tampa, take the Park Road exit and go south before heading east on Coronet Road, then turn right on Prevatt Road.

Hero Rush Central Florida
Florida Horse Park
11008 S. Highway 475
Ocala, FL 34480
(877) 228-4881

Date: November 9, 2013

Being a fire fighter takes plenty of courage: they run into burning buildings when everyone else is trying to get out. However, courage alone isn’t enough. Fire fighters have to be in top physical shape with the ability to carry equipment, victims and sometimes fallen comrades on their backs. Hero Rush is designed by firefighters to give civilians a taste of what they face every day on the job. Climbing slippery stairs in the rain, dragging tires over platforms, running up bleachers carrying hoses: it’s all in a day’s work for the people who answer our 9-1-1 calls. With a distance of just over three miles, with 15 to 20 obstacles thrown in to make things interesting, Hero Rush lives up to its name. Take part as an individual or act as part of a team, it’s up to you how to get the most out of this uniquely challenging event. Registration is $75 until August 23 and ratchets up to a last-minute cost of $89 on November 7 with $5 discounts for Fire, EMS, police, students and military. Ocala is a good ways up the road, but I-4 takes the biggest hurt out of the drive. From downtown Tampa, it’s an hour-and-a-half up I-4 to exit 341. Florida Horse Park is just off County Road 475.

Related: Best Kettlebell Workouts in Tampa

Mike Hennessy is a veteran news man who has won Florida AP awards for feature reporting and covered almost every kind of story imaginable from on-the-scene coverage of Hurricane Andrew, to some of the highest profile murder and corruption trials in Florida history. Mike is versatile and has the curiosity it takes to get to the bottom line of any story. His work can be found at

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