More than Mud - Danielle & Roy Munk

More than Mud is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

We've run marathons and ultramarathons for years and started to look for new challenges that would make us more well rounded athletes. Our first OCR's were Fuego y Agua (Nicaragua), Spartan Beast (Tahoe), and the Battlefrog BFX (Florida). Now our basement, garage, and car trunks are devoted to training for this sport.

How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

Most see us running really far and carrying/pushing a lot of strange stuff around the neighborhood. They have a general idea of what we do but without actually seeing an event its tough to explain. Why do we do it? Its really not an option anymore. We are obsessive about it at this point and love it. It's in our families culture now. It's not unusual to randomly have all four of us (including our 3 and 8 year olds) doing a "Death By Burpee" session in the living room just for fun or go downstairs and play around on the pegboard for an evening!

What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

Roy: Its tough to choose since all of them are great memories. The the Battlefrog BFX Championship was awesome. Fuego y Agua was amazing for so many reasons...the scenery, the people , and the challenge. Climbing up an active volcano is truly an amazing experience.

Danielle: In the Batttlefrog World Championship In Orlando this past December, during my first BFX, I just made the 3:30 cut off to start another lap.  Each volunteer I passed told me I was in 2nd place and then with 2 miles left I saw a woman in front of me.  As I passed her she said, "The paddle is all yours".   So I got to run the last 2 miles thinking, "Oh my gosh I could somehow win this thing."  Turns out in BFX, laying low and not telling people what lap you are on is a smart strategy.  The amazing woman that actually won and beat me by seven minutes, let me in on that very important lay low strategy.

What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?

Roy: Put in the time and be willing to do the long, boring hours that aren't the fun or flashy workouts. That's were the real gains are made.

Danielle:  Don't cheat the long runs.  If you want to race at your peak and be able to complete 26 or more miles, you need to train doing long runs.

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Danielle: When I just ran marathons, I could run forever but I never felt strong.  The idea of climbing a rope or scaling a wall was never even on my radar and now I don't feel like a weakling anymore.

What inspires you?

Roy: The other racers, whether its the guys and ladies out in the lead in the Elites or the first time finisher. Its cool to spend the day around a group that is pushing themselves to their absolute limits. And just when you think you have given everything you have, you see someone else that is working harder. That just makes us want to keep going.

Danielle: All the amazing people around me in races.  I have not even nearly mastered this yet and seeing all these strong women (and men) around me pushing themselves to their personal breaking points is perfection.

Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?

Roy: My goal is to do well in the Battlefrog Elite Masters Division. I have been working hard on upper body strength since thats where I needed to improve the most. We actually bought a Platinum Rig for home to train on. Also, I want our daughter, Haven, to continue in the sport and have fun this year.

Danielle:  I did 5 laps in the Battlefrog BFX Championship and came in 2nd.  If I could win a BFX, it would be the most amazing thing I have ever done (aside from giving birth to my 2 beautiful babies).

What's something about you that others might find surprising?

Danielle: No matter how much I work out, I always feel like I should have done more.  That being said after the BFX, I finally did not have that feeling.

Roy: We are vegetarians! I love to show people that you can not eat meat and still be healthy and have muscles.


What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

Danielle: I wish it was around when I was younger but am so thrilled it will be around for my kids to be the next generation of champions.  It may seem like I'm calling this early but I think the future of this sport will include one or both of my kids as professional OCR racers.  I love this sport and am so glad (even at almost 41), I can still compete with the youngins in the long distance races.  

Roy: I think its the greatest sport in the world. Accessible to all people at all levels. And, it truly takes an all around athlete to excel. I love that the longer endurance events are becoming more common (ie: BFX, the 24 hour events for Tough Mudder and Battlefrog). That opens this sport up to a whole new group of people that may not have had an interest otherwise.

Photos courtesy of Spartan Race.

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