To the Editor: CEO debriefs on Mud Run

The 1st annual Desert Dash Mud Run went off without a hitch on June 23, with more than 150 runners trekking through the 5k course. A combination of paved hard terrain, hills, troughs, slop and five mud pits awaited them. The fastest time came in at just under 22 minutes, while others chose to just walk and enjoy the great weather, scenery and fun. Immediately following the Mud Run, we had a group of highly competitive kids compete in a 1k run — which included three mud pits!

The Kern County Fire Dept. was waiting on the last mile to hose down the exhausted runners with a welcoming cool mist of water from a fire hydrant. All involved commented on how much fun they had and vowed to return next year. The course was designed to appeal to seasoned runners looking for a challenge, but not too tough for those who wanted a leisurely walk/run experience.

Unlike a “Tough Mudder,” or Spartan race, which requires a level of fitness the average person will never reach, our race offered a challenge, laughs and an “oh, crap” response. The Seabees and China Lake Chief Petty Officers Association, with the support of the Ridgecrest Area Visitors and Conventions Bureau, city of Ridgecrest and numerous other sponsors have committed to making this an annual event.

R.J. McGaha, who led a team of more than 50 volunteers consisting of mainly Seabees, Sea Cadets, sailors and spouses from China Lake, specifically wanted to thank all who helped make this event happen — from a week of preparing the course to making sure the race day experience matched races that are already much more established. Each runner received plenty of water, a T-shirt and a medal for participation.

Doug Lueck of the RACVB, R.J. and I are all committed to making this bigger and better each and every year. Our goal is to attract more and more out-of-town runners and make it a weekend event for out-of-town runners while creating more competitive divisions and challenges for our locals.

We awarded more than $2,000 in prize money to male and female winners in four age groups, and that will grow with time. All and all, we are proud and tired but excited about the potential of this new event. All race times are available on For those who want to start training now, we are looking at a late April date in 2019.

Chip Holloway, Desert Empire Fairgrounds CEO

Story First Published: 2018-07-20