More than Mud - Jennie Maldonado December 08 2016
More than Mud is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.
How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?
My husband. He and his brother did the Spring Savage race here in GA in 2013. I went to watch with our then 4 year old daughter. I was hooked by the end of the race. The energy was infectious. People were exhausted and grinning from ear to ear, so I signed up for the fall Savage race that weekend and have never looked back.
How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community?
I get a blank look when I mention the races, so I keep it dirt simple, pun intended. I tell them that I run trails while carrying heavy crap, crawling through mud, jumping walls, and laughing like a maniac the whole time.
Why I do it is a whole other matter. You meet the best people in the world slogging through muck, mud, and water. There's no color, no race, no religion, everyone is just a person and everyone is equal. Everyone is willing to lend a hand, leg, back to help out the person next to them and no one asks for anything in return (other than assistance in getting over an obstacle).
You can't walk away from a race feeling like you didn't accomplish something. You just ran miles of rough trail, through mud/water/questionable substances, climbed 8 foot walls, crossed muddy monkey bars, carried logs that weigh as much as your golden retriever, and you helped others do the same. That's the way the world is supposed to be, dirty, messy, and everyone working toward a common goal together.
What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?
I sprained the heck out of my ankle around mile 2 at the Spartan Super in Atlanta in 2015. I managed to finish the race, and learned a lot about how mentally strong I really can be.
What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?
Laugh. You have to laugh. When it is 35 degrees, wet and you're out there, you have to find something to laugh at.
What inspires you?
My husband and our two daughters. He works tirelessly to ensure we're taken care of and still finds the energy to play with the girls, get a workout in at night, encourage me to workout after work, and lend a hand with dinner and dishes. Our oldest daughter has the best heart I have ever seen in a person. She cares for everyone, even if she doesn't know them, and just wants everyone to be happy and healthy.
Our baby is feisty as they come, and is not afraid to let you know exactly what she thinks about something. I strive to be like each of them, working tirelessly to ensure my family is cared for, seeing the best in everyone, and not too shy to speak my mind when needed.
Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?
Racing fall Savage in the Pro wave and not losing my band.
What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?
I love what the future holds for OCR. This sport is still so young, and changing constantly there's so much room for it to evolve. I fully expect to see more high school OCR teams sprouting up, more college competitions, and maybe pro teams in just a few short years.
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Photos courtesy of Savage Race