By Steven Hicks

There has been this growing trend nationally and right here in Brevard for obstacle races. You’ll see these in television commercials for all sorts of products from cars to insurance to waterproof smartphones. It would seem like a typical 5K from the school parking lot just won’t cut it anymore for some people anymore. SpaceCoast Living Photo Editor, Jason Hook, was invited by Eduardo Gonzalez, the race director, to photograph a local event held in Palm Bay.  This event, the 2016 Space Coast Mud Run, was presented by the Home Builders & Contractors Association of Brevard (HBCA) and the City of Palm Bay.
As with most, the runs are often fundraisers for local causes. Proceeds from this event will support the HBCA Foundation and the City of Palm Bay community events. The HBCA Foundation was established as an organization whose purpose is to give back to the Brevard County community through scholarships and grants to individuals and other organizations serving the building and housing industry.
Gonzalez is a Spartan SGX Coach at CrossFit Rise Above on Eau Gallie Boulevard, one of the few places one can train for obstacle runs. He is a two-time Ironman finisher, and seven times a Tinman finisher (half Ironman). He has also completed five marathons and 16 half-marathons. He has finished over 200 obstacle races, including the 2016 Obstacle Racing World Championships, where he ranked 77th. This should give you an idea of the level of planning that benefited this local event. Gonzalez also owns Mudrunfun, LLC, a leading advertising and online marketing business in the industry of obstacle racing, based out of Palm Bay. The Mudrunfun Running Team has a major presence in Florida running and obstacle events. He also owns MOAR Services LLC, a race consulting company which deals with event logistics, obstacle design and building, and course design. He has worked with Space Coast Mud Run in 2015 and 2016 and the Melbourne Mud Bash 2016, building most of their obstacles.
The 2016 Space Coast Mud Run ran through The Compound in Palm Bay, utilizing the area’s rugged terrain in conjunction with challenging man-made obstacles to create a unique course for what they bill as The Best and The Original Mud Run on the Space Coast. Obstacles are numerous and creative. This run featured flooded ditches, tubes, flat walls, spider webs, hurdles, mud crawls, cargo nets, sandy and muddy crawls, balance beams and tire pulls. You will, of course, get very muddy. It will take everything you have to complete it. But it is possible. These events are not made to break you — who would come back for another? But they are meant to challenge you. Participants generally come across the finish line smiling!
If this sounds like something you’d like to try, there are more events coming up. Most Central Florida Obstacle/Mud Events happen west of Orlando, but there are local events. Search online for the Melbourne Mud Bash, Orphan Aids 5K Mud Run, or the Jailbreak Brevard Adventure Run. Participation ranges from 500 to 1,200 runners per event and there are those very experienced in the mud, but also a lot of first-timers. You’ll be in good company either way.