The Hagg Mud Runs date back to 2002 when they were founded by three members of the Oregon Road Runners Club. Founded by Scott Diamond, Randy Christian, and Rick Klocke, the Hagg Mud race is one of the oldest ultras in the state. The three inaugural race directors hoped for 30 to 40 runners that very first year, and ended up with 62 in the 50k, including ultrarunning legends Karl Meltzer and Jeff Browning (who coincidentally won last year’s 50k). Since then, Hagg Mud has had many great race directors, including Todd Janssen of Go Beyond Racing and Kelly Barten of Run Oregon.
We have many folks who continue to be involved year after year, on both the planning and the volunteer side. Todd Janssen is an aid station captain at the dam on Saturday; he’s been helping out with Hagg for over ten years. The legendary Eb Engelmann, who is 77 years old, will be running his 15th race out of Hagg. Also returning this year is Mike Burke, who will be taking on his 18th race (which may not seem like a big deal to him since he completed the Bigfoot 200 in 2018 – did we mention he is 68 years old?). And you can’t help but mention Moe Codino, who is looking to finish his 9th Hagg Mud Double. We’re still working on what we’ll get him for his 10th!
We see our mission as continuing the long-standing tradition of this race, throwing a giant season kickoff party in essence. Our goal is to have a smooth running race, with well-stocked aid stations, friendly volunteers, hot food including soup and sandwiches at the finish, and of course a couple of kegs from the Lucky Lab, who has been sponsoring us for many years. Double runners get growlers of their favorite beverage, and if you complete the Double five years in a row, you get your own custom engraved growler. All finishers get a custom pair of Swiftwick socks, and we give out a second finisher’s item that varies from year to year.
We think that people keep coming back to Hagg from year to year because it is an Oregon classic. Along with MacForest, Bendistillery 50k, SOB, Pacific Crest Trail 50k & 50m, and the McKenzie River, Hagg Mud was part of the original Oregon Trail Series. If you are a trail runner in Oregon, it’s one of those races that you want to do just to be a part of the rich history of trail races here in the state. We have folks who have been running this race every year for years; it’s like a giant family reunion. And for new trail runners, the 25k is a great distance to start out with and build from for summer racing. The trail around Hagg Lake is quite pretty, full of rolling hills, and the mud is a fun additional challenge. It’s not every day that you can get covered head to toe in the mud of the Pigpen (an especially muddy section close to the start/finish area) and laugh about it with your running buddies. Hagg Mud is really just a race you have to experience to understand!
Race directing this race is a blast. Because we have a great team, our planning stress is minimal outside of the occasional curveball that permits or insurance can throw us. We can focus on making it a really great event, on catching up with friends and getting outside to play in February. How great is that? There is a huge bit of satisfaction in being part of Oregon’s ultra history and keeping this tradition going year after year. Nothing is more exciting than knowing that in just a few days we’ll be seeing all of our friends and making new ones out there at the lake.
See Todd Johnson’s race report for more on the Hagg Lake Mud Runs