Mudathlon Preview: Preparations for Valparaiso (Chicagoland) Mudathlon Underway

By: Reggie Flesvig Last Updated: July 21, 2010

The cattle that roam the rolling pasture on Dale Graeber's farm near Valparaiso seem curious about the recent increase in activity as workers from Vision Event Management have begun laying out the course and setting up obstacles for the first annual Chicagoland Mudathlon which is scheduled for this Saturday, July 24th.

The event will kick off at 9 a.m. when the first wave of 75-100 Mudders are released from the starting corral to tackle the course, its 20 obstacles, and the mud. A new wave of Mudders will be sent off every 15 minutes. All participants will be wearing a timing chip around their ankles so that each Mudders time can be recorded and ranked against the other competitors.

The Graeber Family Farm, located on County Road 200 West just south of County Road 200 South in Porter Township (2.5 miles south of Aberdeen and 3 miles north of Boone Grove Middle School) is an ideal site to host this event which combines running, climbing, crawling, wading, jumping, sliding - and lots of mud. The pasture Graeber chose for Mudathlon has open prairie, rolling hills, woods, and a meandering creek. There is also an old train tressle that Mudders will have to cross a few hundred meters from the start.

Some of the challenges include climbing a rope ladder to the top of a 12-foot tall tower, wading a creek, crossing an old train bridge, maneuvering over hay bales and small wooden pools, crawling under large wooden spools, running up and down muddy hills, riding down a mudslide, and crossing a 100 meter long mud pit. Finishers will receive the official Mudathlon medal, and all participants get the Mudathlon t-shirt, mug, and post-race food and beverage. Live music will also be provided by The Jesse Brown Band.

As of July 16, over 800 people from around the Midwest and from as far away as California have signed up online for the event. Interestingly, though, not too many Valparaiso-area residents are registered. As of July 19, only 19 Valparaiso residents have signed up. Maybe the title "Chicagoland" Mudathlon led many people to think the event would be over the border in Illinois. However, Mudathlon is taking place right in our backyard!

And, Mudders, don't worry. Avoiding the cattle won't be one of the obstacles during Saturday's event. Plans are in place to have the bovines wrangled to a nearby pasture. So reserve Saturday morning to take part in a new, challenging event: Mudathlon - a mucking good time!

For more information and to register online go to

To see a hilarious video from the Mudathlon, click here.

To see photos from the actual event, click here.