Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

As all kids learned early on (usually to their parents’ dismay) that dirt sticks best to everything when it’s wet, so there is no more fun way to get dirty than to play in mud. They are expected to grow out of it, but even as adults, we still welcome an excuse to enjoy getting dirty with friends. Houston’s huge parks, year-round mild warm temperatures and ample rain combine to offer amazing venues for mud-filled obstacle courses for “kids” 14 and up. These competitions are sponsored by experienced organizers and offer well-designed obstacles engineered for safety. Information is based on published materials of the sponsors included in the websites mentioned below.

Austin/Houston Tough Mudder 2013
Longhorn River Ranch
3201 FM 165
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Date: April 21, 2013

Tough Mudder is one of many non-competitive events. Although the starting wave is timed, none of the others are. The course is intended to be a personal challenge. (See website for descriptions of obstacles that may be included). The primary goal is to complete the course, or as much of it as possible. The events also raise money to help treat returning veterans suffering from battlefield-related injuries and stress. Assistance may take the form of counseling, sports programs and employment assistance.

Mud Dogs Fun Mud Run Houston
Creekside Edge ATV Park
13580 Highway 59
Splendora, Texas
(800) 975-6195

Date: May 11, 2013

The Mud Dogs “Fun Mud Run” 5/10K obstacle mud run includes climbing, endurance, crawling, balance and lots of mud. There will be only two timed waves, starting at 7:30 and 8:30. All other waves will not be timed. Sponsors state that their purpose is bringing people together for fun and a charitable purpose. A portion of the participation fee will be donated to a local charity.

The Original Mud Run
Sam Houston Race Park
7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway W.
Houston, TX 7064

Date: May 25, 2013

Ready to really challenge yourself? The Original Mud Run is a described by the organizers as being “military-style.” This year will be the fourth anniversary of the event. It will feature two courses, one 5K (3.1-mile) course with 18 obstacles, and a tougher 10K (6.2-mile) course with more than 30 obstacles.

Dirty Girl Mud Run
Sundance Horse Ranch
9825 Masters Road
Manvel, TX 77578

Date: Oct. 12, 2013

This event offers is for women of all ages and all athletic abilities. The obstacles were designed by a former Army Ranger. Participants will run, walk, climb and crawl. Obstacles have names such as “H2OMG” and will amuse participants and spectators alike. if an obstacle is too difficult, the participants can detour around it. Even so, all obstacles are safe. The event will be held rain or shine.

Tony Marron Park
808 N. York
Houston, TX 77003

Date: Oct. 26, 2013

The Jailbreak is a 3.1 (5K) race featuring 16-20 obstacles. Jailbreak Racing Events assures the safety and integrity of the race with qualified emergency staff stationed throughout the race course. Each obstacle is designed and engineered to be safe for all participants, and anyone is free to detour around any obstacle he or she finds too difficult. Participants must be at least 14 years of age.

Marc Pembroke is a freelance writer covering all things Houston. His work can be found on