Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race comes to Washington, D.C.

The Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race Presented by Subaru will makes its Washington, D.C. debut on July 21, 2013. Photo: Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race-Rich Cruise/MESP

NEW YORK, July 2, 2013 — The Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race Presented by Subaru is coming to Washington, D.C. Sunday, July 21. It is the newest city in an 11-stop tour around the U.S. in 2013.

The Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race Presented by Subaru is a series of 5K and 10K trail runs that feature military-style obstacles, water crossings and, of course, a finish line mud pit. The Washington, D.C., 5K has 13 obstacles including log leaps, a push-up station and cargo net climb. The 10K has 20 obstacles including balance beams, Marine hurdles and sand bags to carry. Race swag includes a technical tee and finisher medal. The race weekend also includes a pull-up contest and kids races. A total of 3,000 runners are expected to attend.

Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Races include challenges like tire runs and water crossings. (Photo: Rich Cruise/MESP)

Obstacle running has seen an explosion in participation the last few years. In 2010, approximately 41,000 people entered about 20 obstacle races in the U.S., according to Outside magazine. By 2012, those 20 events had grown to 150 with 1.5 million people participating. Competitor magazine reports that 2 million people competed in obstacle races in 2012 and the number of obstacle racing events in 2013 will surpass 500. 

The Washington, D.C. stop on the Merrell Down & Dirty tour is not the only new obstacle race in town. Shape Diva Dash, an obstacle run geared toward women, is coming to Washington, D.C. for the first time on September 21. And Mudderella, a new series, will debut in D.C. on April 26, 2014.

Coming to Washington with the Merrell Down & Dirty events is Adventure Kids presented by Paul Mitchell for younger runners. Kids ages 4-6 face the Matchbox 100-yard dash and ages 7-13 tackle a 1-mile course, both with pint-sized obstacles. Kids receive a finisher medal and race tee.

Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Races finish with a mud pit. (Photo: MESP)

The Down & Dirty series helps raise money for Operation Gratitude, a non-profit that sends personalized care packages to military members deployed in hostile regions overseas. Race organizer Michael Epstein Sports Productions, Inc. (MESP) has raised $130,000 for the charity and hopes to pull together another $130,000 by encouraging runners to fundraise as part of their training. Participants who meet certain fundraising goals receive perks like VIP parking passes, Merrell gift cards and Operation Gratitude Care Packages.

“It is encouraging to see that MESP shares our same passion for supporting our troops,” said Carolyn Blashek, founder of Operation Gratitude. “They deserve all the gratitude we can give them.”

The Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race Presented by Subaru takes off Sunday, July 21 at 8 a.m. at Prince George’s Stadium in Maryland. After Washington, D.C., the series tour continues in Detroit, New York, Atlanta, and Sacramento.

For more information or to registration, visit

Karla Bruning is host of On The Run, New York Road Runners’ show about running. She has finished six marathons, two triathlons and trains with the New York Harriers. Follow Karla at, The Washington Times Communities, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine,,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

Contact Karla Bruning


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