Dear Barry and Cheryl,

It's great to be alive and generally well. Jill, Henry & Carrie Camilleri, Mike Wilson, and myself did the Mud Run @ Camp Pendleton Marine Corp. base down south. What an ordeal. The 6.2 miles and the trails and the hills and the barricades and hurdles, etc. weren't too bad, but the mud was way too much.

In the first 4 miles they had small streams to forge that got our shoes wet. Then we got to smell the bacterial sludge in the swamp water in our shoes, which now most assuredly weighed at least 10 pounds apiece. Slogging along until our shoes got lighter was OK because we knew there were only 2- 2 1/2 miles left. A piece of cake. This isn't so bad I said.

How many times have I underestimated what's around the corner by assuming facts not in evidence. The marine corp. gyrenes, or whatever those jar heads are called, seemed to be getting pretty smug as they monitored the course. The best (known as the worst) was yet to come. We had to scale 8-foot walls that were in 100-foot long 3 feet deep sludge pits. As we approached each wall in each pit the person(s) ahead would leap up to grab the top of the wall thus spraying our faces with this fine freshly filtered spring water from the French Alps or wherever they imported this "s--t" from. To add insult to injury, if you were lucky enough to have a woman in front of you, she would invariably need a hoist, so hand sling, step onto it please and up you go. Now we couldn't touch our faces with our hands, which certainly smelled like raw sewage. Once on top of the wall we had to get down the other side. That meant leaping back down 8 feet into a 3-foot deep pit of sludge. People were slipping and sliding and wallowing in this stuff as they collapsed from the fall. Oh for a shower right then.

Dick and Jill before the Mud RunSo here we are slogging along once more, our shoes weighing a ton and ripe as the worst sewer backup in your shower you ever smelled. Lo-and-behold there's a lake for us to cross/forge. We'll be able to rinse off some of this stench. Unfortunately the lake was just a big big sludge pit with a bottom that sucked our shoes about a foot or so into the goo. With each difficult step we pulled each foot up hoping the shoe was still attached and not devoured by the sludge on the bottom of the lake-from-hell. People were falling left and right, getting back up and falling again in this s--t (for lack of a better term). There were foxtails and floating fields of huge cockleburs that worked down onto/into our shoes and socks. For sure the worst is over now. No way.

At 1/2-mi. from the finish they had the final mud/sludge pit. It was covered by wire across the whole pit, which we had to slither under for about 75 feet. The bad news was the wire was only 4-6 inches above the surface of the fresh spring water. There were people on all sides kicking and struggling to get through this thing as quickly as possible. Imagine if you will this s--t flying through the air from all directions and you can barely keep your eyes, ears, nose and throat from submerging and sucking up the dregs of this sewage pit. Say it ain't so Joe. Alas, out of the cesspool and crossing the finish line. Time for a shower.

We stood in line for 45 minutes. Twenty people ahead of us. The line never moved--at least it seemed that way. Finally we're 5 people from the shower head and it runs out of water. They directed us toward the back of the park where there were lines of marine corp. outdoor makeshift showers. Mind you this is California so they obviously had the "flow-restrictor" shower heads in place. There wasn't enough pressure to fill a 5-gallon bucket in 5 minutes let alone get that s--t out of your hair, eyes, ears, mouth, clothes. I didn't dare get near my private parts. Who knows what's hiding in the depths of those confines?

Needless to say, we were all very very very ripe until we got home and took a long hot shower to rinse our troubles away. A day later and I still feel TOXIC!!!! Forget trying to salvage whatever we were wearing. They had to be double bagged, labeled toxic waste, and sent to the incinerator at an EPA designated site by special order of all those people who will come into contact with us in the near future.

We all decided we probably won't do that run again.

Interestingly though, this was the 6th annual Mud Run. The year before supposedly there were less than 1000 participants. This year over 4000.


Happy Father's Day.


E-mail: barry