Nationwide Dirty Girl Mud Run comes to Copper Mountain Sept. 12 |

Nationwide Dirty Girl Mud Run comes to Copper Mountain Sept. 12

The Dirty Girl Mud Run makes its Copper Mountain debut on Sept. 12 with a dozen mud-splattered obstackles on a 5K course.
Special to the Daily |

Dirty Girl 5K

What: A female-only mud run through obstacles like “Utopian Tubes” and “Runaway Bride” to benefit several foundations, including Bright Pink and Paul Mitchell Future Professionals

When: Saturday, Sept. 12 at 9 a.m.

Where: Copper Mountain

Cost: $75 per person

Waves leave every 15 minutes beginning at 9 a.m. On-site registration opens at 7:30 a.m. at the event venue and costs $75 per person. Entry fees pay for the race, a Dirty Girl t-shirt and complimentary gear check. Participants can also donate $5 to Bright Pink at registration. For more info, see the official event website at

Girls, it’s time to get down and dirty for a cause.

For the first time ever, Copper Mountain Resort plays host to the Dirty Girl Mud Run on Sept. 12, a nationwide series of muck-spattered events built just for ladies. It’s part Warrior Dash, part Tough Mudder and part rowdy morning in the woods — all to support Bright Pink, the only national nonprofit specifically for young breast and ovarian cancer patients.

And, for the first time ever, Bright Pink ambassador Kaitlin Nordby will join more than 4,000 friends, strangers and cancer survivors as they splash through the sludge — just a year after she opted to have a double mastectomy.

“The most amazing thing about breast and ovarian cancer survivors is that we will all get together this weekend, and, even though we might not know anyone, we will run together and hug each other and feel like we’ve known each other forever because we have this common bond,” Nordby said.

The cause and mud and gunk this weekend will all be close to her heart. In 2013, the 25-year-old Denver native lost her mother to breast cancer and, soon after, discovered she shared a rare genetic marker, known as BRCA1. The marker is grim: Patients like Nordby and her mother have an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer, typically long before the age of 60 in their thirties and twenties.

For many BRCA1 patients, extreme measures like surgery are the only option for a long, healthy life, even at a young age. Nordby had her mastectomy last November. This December, more than a full year after the operation, she’ll go through a final round of reconstructive surgery to look — and feel — like a 25-year-old again.

But first, it’s time to get dirty.

“You’re in the Colorado mountains, and it just makes you feel alive,” she says. “I think that is one of the most incredible purposes for an event like this, whether it’s a 5K or the Dirty Girl. It reminds you that if you’ve had a double mastectomy — if you’ve basically had your breasts amputated — you can still go out and do things afterwards.”

Mud, gunk and ‘Utopian Tubes’

If a name like “Dirty Girl” is any indication, a sense of humor is the best medicine for survivors like Nordby, not to mention thousands of other participants who simply want to run through mud on a crisp, clear fall morning. (Yes, the forecast calls for nothing but bluebird skies.)

The 5K slopeside course comes filled with roughly 12 obstacles. Like their counterparts at other obstacles races, each one has a name that’s both descriptive and intimidating. Racers will burrow through “Utopian Tubes” (several tight tunnels filled with mud), swing over H2OMG (inflatable balls suspended above sludgy water), barrel down Dirty Dancing (a massive slide with gunk at the bottom) and hop over Hot Mess (a wall of flames, of course).

Sure, it sounds like the world’s worst hike through a diabolical playground, but, at just 5K, it’s nearly over before it begins. And, unlike the Spartan Race, there’s no pressure to finish every obstacle.

“You get to the finish line, covered in mud, and realize, ‘Wow, I’m already at the finish line,’” says event spokeswoman Justine Spence, who ran in her first Dirty Girl this spring when it made a stop in Scranton, Pennsylvania. “When I did it in Pennsylvania, I was a little intimidated because I’m not a huge runner, but I got out there and had a blast. I had no idea a workout could be so fun.”

Spence, a Summit local, will don her Dirty Girl outfit this weekend for another run through the mud. As a self-professed non-runner, she enjoys the social side as much as the event itself. After all, what better way to convince friends to roll in muck for an hour or so? She already has a post-race plan.

“When you’re done with the race and covered in mud, find the friends who were there to watch you — the ones who were just there to cheer you on — and give them a big, muddy hug,” she says, who also suggests bringing a towel or two for the ride home — one for you and one for the muddy friend. “This is just for anyone, from young to old, and no one takes themselves too seriously. There’s absolutely no pressure.”

Mud for all

As with the Warrior Dash earlier this summer, the Dirty Girl obstacles will be spread across the base of the mountain, but don’t expect any major elevation changes. Again, the race is made for anyone and everyone — not just fitness junkies.

Still, mud has a way of stoking the appetite. Beginning at noon, just before the race wraps up at 2 p.m., Copper will also host an after-party in Center Village for participants and friends. Expect a full bar with Bloody Mary’s, mimosas and delicious barbecue — burgers, turkey legs, pulled pork sandwiches and the like — along with free music from DJ Landry throughout the day and Colorado band The Rumour from noon to 2 p.m.

There will also be a “braid bar” manned by students with the Paul Mitchell school: Stylists braid hair for a small donation, and all proceeds go to cancer survivors. Last year, the bar raised $150,000.

Then, there is the Bright Pink tent. Nordby will be there all day, spreading the word and chatting with fellow survivors.

“I think one of the most important things is to see other women who have been through a similar experience and to see that they are thriving, beautiful women,” she says. “They can come run and have fun and just be in the mountains.”

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