Olympia Area Dirty Dash Provides Fun For All Participants



By Tom Rohrer

A hot sunny sky didn’t limit the mud content on the track at Straddleline Raceway in McCleary, providing ideal conditions for the thousands participating in the Dirty Dash On Saturday, Aug. 4.

Participants in the Dirty Dash are joined by their families before the race. Back row, l-r, Jena Decker, Brad Decker, Karli Plughoff, Ryan Plughoff. Bottom row, l-r, Mikaeli Decker, Mackenzie Decker, Gage Plughoff, Harper Plughoff.

The Dirty Dash, essentially a muddied down obstacle and endurance course, features hills, watered down pools and climbing walls on the 3.1 mile track.  (Complete photo set can be found here.)

Dirty Dashes have been held across the region in recent years and have been met with great participation.  The Seattle dash drew in a capacity crowd, and this past weekend’s event has been sold out for weeks.

While still technically a race, the Dirty Dash focuses on the fun aspects of fitness rather than competition.

“I participate in just straight races and running events, and that is a much different environment,” said Brad Decker, a participant in the Dirty Dash.  “I was in the Seattle (Dirty Dash) and people were having a great time.  It’s a refreshing atmosphere.”

Karli Plughoff of Olympia was taking part in her first Dirty Dash on Saturday, and was looking forward to the experience.

“It seems like a change of pace from other races,” Plughoff said.  “You can just tell from being here and seeing how the people act.”

Dirty Dash race official “Mad Matt” pumps up the crowd before a starting heat on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Accommodating that relaxed mood was a host of creative costumes and uniforms donned by the race participants.  It was common to see one group dressed as doctors, another as punk rockers and several as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

There was clearly a humorous and light atmosphere at the beginning of the course, where “Mad Matt”, one of the race organizers, was trying to pump up racers in each individual heat.   Matt enjoys the enthusiasm he has seen at Dirty Dashes across the region.

“Just look at all the people and how much fun they are having, how they are acting like kids,” Matt said. “People are dressing up, being dumb, and there aren’t many opportunities in life to do that anymore.  It’s great to be a part of something like this.”

Racers were allowed to drink various beers at the starting line, along with the opportunity to visit a nearby beer garden featuring a collection of local beverages.  To take things to the next level, a beer drinking obstacle was featured in the middle of the course.

“That kind of sums up the event, and just the mindset of the organizers and the participants,” Matt said.  “There is no negativity.”

Team “Dirtytinis” from Puyallup prepares for their heat during the Dirty Dash at Straddleline Raceway on Saturday, Aug. 4. Pictured, l-r, Cheryl O’Shaughnessy, Naomi Vincent, Jens Vincent, Teresa Perez and Alex Perez.

It was also a very cost effective event, in that racers did not have to pay for parking or facility use.    The event also generated funds for a host of local charities and organizations, and several food vendors from the Tacoma area were present.

After crossing the finishing line, racers would quickly scamper to a shower station, where the remnants of the race could be rinsed away.

“It’s the music playing, it’s the way people are smiling,” Matt said about what he enjoyed most of the event.  “Sometimes it feels good to get dirty.”

Find more photos here.  For more information on the Dirty Dash, visit www.thedirtydash.com.

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