The Pirates Week Mud Run was immense entertainment for most of the 450 entrants who entered just for fun, but for some serious athletes like Samuel Young, their competitive streak was as fierce as ever.
The 5K run on Sparkys Drive on Saturday was a fundraiser for Pirates Week. It was first staged last year and chief organizer Melanie McField surpassed herself, with an even better course this time.
Young won it again in 22 minutes, 44 seconds, which is not bad considering how tough many of the obstacles were. Alta Wolff was the female winner.
Last year Young won it, but was hotly pursued all the way, partly because he was hampered on the course as directions were not clear. No such problems were encountered this time as it was all well marked and volunteers helped.
“It feels good to defend my title,” he said. “No real injuries makes it even nicer.” In preparation, he turned to speed work and strength training. He also ensured he got ample rest. “I felt strong.”
Young said this year was much easier to negotiate because all the obstacles were numbered and there were lots of arrows along the course.
He took the lead early into the race and pressed so far ahead that when he looked back a few times nobody was there. “At this point, I just had to maintain my pace and finish the race comfortably,” he said.
He reckons this time the course was more entertaining. “My mind-set was to have fun and trust in my abilities. I didn’t want to place pressure on myself. More challenges means more fun. I had a great time.”
Young’s favorite obstacle was the tire wall because it channeled his inner kid as he climbed. The hardest obstacle for him was going down a slide smeared in vegetable oil, and then immediately swimming across a canal with shoes on.
“The vegetable oil was the most surprising because it usually comes with eggs and bacon in the morning. This was stunning,” he said. “My stomach was baffled but I had to keep going.”
He said that the other entrants gave positive feedback afterward. “I like the morale as well. This event is getting better and evolving in a great way.
“I also want to thank my auntie Faith Crooks and Jimmy, Jordan and Jillian Crooks for their encouragement and support.”
Young’s next event is the World’s Toughest Mudder in Las Vegas in November. It is a much more difficult version of the Mud Run, set over roughly 12 miles interspersed with horrendous obstacles with names like Ring of Fire, Mud Mile and Electroshock Therapy. It’s just as much a test of mental strength as physical endurance.
Mudder is Young’s version of fun. His real ambition is the InterTrust Cayman Islands half-marathon in December. “I want to better my time. Placing in the top three was a goal and dream come true last year. I’ll be flying off to do a half-marathon beforehand as well.”
His half-marathon time of 1 hour, 28 minutes, 40 seconds was impressive considering he was a bodybuilder not so long ago. The race was won by perennial champ Marius Acker, nine minutes faster.
The 26-year-old fund accountant at Advanced Fund Administration will not be competing next year. “I have no plans to participate in events because I will be focusing on becoming a Certified Public Accountant and the youngest director on the island,” he said.