The Padden Mudfest is a trail run that takes place on the trails of Lake Padden Park in Bellingham, WA. Ed and Kathleen Harri launched the race in 2003 as a 12k event held in early November during Fall rains. Tjalling Ypma took the baton in 2008 as race director through 2019. Over the years weather related site conditions reduced the course length. In 2020 the 5k event was added to attract additional participants. The Mudfest continued during the COVID years of 2020 and 2021 as virtual races became the norm in the running community.
Mudfest “live” returned in 2022 and next year’s event will mark the 22nd anniversary of the race! The race is unique in offering an introduction to conditions usually encountered in ultra-marathons, but on a smaller and much more manageable scale. Expect narrow winding trails, steep ups and downs, rocks and roots and, all being well, lots of sloppy and slippery mud courtesy of the Mudfest Monster.
Both courses follow the upper trails known as the horse trails above the lake, though both finish with a flat lakefront run along the exposed and scenic shores of Lake Padden. The 5k course is essentially the second half of the 10k course. Both courses are challenging but the 5k is doable even for relatively young and less experienced runners. However it’s suggested young runners do a pre-race run on the 5k course. Maps and more course description follow below.
Fit School Padden Mudfest Training Program
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Footwear note: Trail shoes or running shoes with an aggressive tread and good lacing are highly recommended. Due to the rocky and rooty nature of parts of the course, spikes are not recommended.
Our local timing gurus Pacific Multisport will provide chip timing for both races.
Course Description and Maps
Both races begin adjacent to the Picnic Shelter near the playground and basketball courts at the eastern (golf course) end of Lake Padden. Water will be provided on the course at 2 locations: 5k @ 1.8 mile mark and 10k @ 3.1 and 4.5 mile marks.
The 5k course begins with a very cheeky, steep climb up to the ridge that forms the southern edge of the lake basin. It then goes along the ridge, with some potentially very muddy stretches. After a few ups and downs there is a steep descent to the lakeshore at the point where the creek exits the lake. There will also be an aid station at this point. A brief excursion down the gorge leads to a short rise into the woods behind the western end of the lake, from where the course emerges onto the lakeside and heads to the finish.
The 10k course begins with a 5k loop over the hill behind the golf course. This first loop begins with an only moderately steep but very long and sustained climb to the high point of the race, followed by a long and winding descent with some quite steep and potentially very muddy and slippery parts, especially near the end of the first 5k. There will be an aid station at the 5k mark, where the 10k course joins the 5k course
1ok course change: As the old course was a ½ mile short of 6.2 miles, a .25 mile out and back leg on the trail spur that leads to the new Galbraith parking area has been added. A course monitor will be stationed at the turn off with a U-turn sign posted at the turnaround point.
- GBRC members (5k or 10k): $10.00 (chip timing cost)
- Non-members: $15 for 5k, $20 for 10k
- Kids 12 and under: $5 for 5k, $10 for 10k
- Day-of registration (if available): +$5.00 to above fees (cash or check only)
- GBRC membership fees range from $45/year (individual) to $70/year (family). Youth and Senior rates are also available. If you wish to become a GBRC member and enjoy free or reduced price race entry into all GBRC races, please join the club at: GBRC.net.
Note: GBRC is unable to refund registration fees if you are unable to attend the race. GBRC is unable to refund registration fees if the race is cancelled due to weather, road or air conditions, or other unforeseen situations. GBRC is a 501(c)(3) NON-PROFIT organization run by volunteers.
Online registration for the March 3, 2024 race will open December 17, 2023.
Race chips and bib numbers will be picked up at the Lake Padden Picnic Shelter the day of the event beginning at 8:30 AM for the 10:00 AM start. There is NO early packet pick up prior to race day.
In order to keep our race safe and enjoyable for all participants, we have a few safety requests:
- Feel free to listen to anything you please through ONE ear bud during the race, allowing the other ear to hear other runners, traffic, and race information.
- Baby joggers are not allowed on the race course.
- NO dogs allowed on the course.
- This is a zero waste event, if it cannot be easily composted, please take it home with you.
- Please be courteous to all other trail users, fellow runners and race volunteers.
- Lastly, have fun!
Post Race Awards and Food
Race medals and prizes will be awarded to the 1st place finisher overall in both the 5k and 10k for each of the four divisions: female/male/non-binary/AWD*. Unlike some races where race medals can be purchased, the Mudfest medal must be earned! Medals will also be awarded to the youngest and eldest overall finishers from the four divisions (female, male, non-binary or AWD) in both the 5k and 10k. Prizes will be awarded to the 2nd and 3rd place finishers overall in the 5k and 10k (female/male/non-binary/AWD).
Placement ribbons will be given to the top 3 finishers for each of the four divisions in both the 5k and 10k for each of the following age groups: 10 and under, 11-14, 15-18, 19-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89 and 90+.
Sustainability Prizes: Thinking about carpooling, biking (making it a duathlon day) or even taking the bus to the race? There will be prizes for the largest carpool group as well as the furthest bike and bus commutes. WTA’s Route 533 arrives/departs every hour at :25 after the hour at the Samish Way/E. Lake Padden stop. Please refer to Whatcom Transportation Authority’s website www.ridewta.com for additional info.
After the race, yummy refreshments including hot soup and bread will be available. The race shelter is covered but not enclosed. If the weather forecast is cold and/or wet, it’s suggested participants bring extra dry clothing. A bag drop area will be provided but please, NO valuables! GBRC apparel will also be available for purchase on race day.
* AWD or athletes with disability is a new division this year inspired by a local organization, The AIROW Project. Their mission is to create adaptive and inclusive recreation opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Learn more about another one of Bellingham’s homegrown groups that are furthering community inclusivity at The AIROW Project.
Mudfest Monster Shirts and Hats
Shirts and hats, as pictured below (click on image to enlarge) can be pre-ordered when you register. Merchandise can also be easily added after registration on the Pacific Multisports website. Deadline to order is Sunday February 18th 11:59pm.
All t-shirts are cotton blend (50% polyester/25% cotton/25% rayon) and available in unisex sizes XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL.
Short sleeve – $23.00
Long sleeve – $25.00
The 5-panel hats with embroidered Mudfest Monster logo are $25.
GBRC merchandise will be available on race day but NO day of race sales for Mudfest merch.
- Please carpool or use public transportation or go by bike to get to the race if possible. See Awards section for more info.
- Parking is available in the lot above the registration area, along the access road in designated areas, at the boat ramp parking area (1/4 mile from the start) and at the swim area (1 mile from the start).
- Do not park in either the gravel or the paved parking lots adjacent to the dog park – these are reserved for dog owners and other park users.
Directions to the Race
From I-5 Northbound (from Seattle): Take the N. Lake Samish Exit 246 and turn left (north) at the stop sign. Drive approximately 2.5 miles to the East Lake Padden entrance. Turn left and follow the road and GBRC signs to the playground area.
From I-5 Southbound: Take the Samish Way Exit 252 and turn left to cross over I-5 at the light. Turn right at the next light onto Samish Way. Follow the road for 2.5 miles until the East Lake Padden sign (it will be the second sign for Lake Padden). Turn right and follow the road and GBRC signs to the playground area.
Past Race Results and Records
The following course records were first established in 2020 when the 5k course was added which necessitated a new 10k course layout. Of the records shown below, despite difficult conditions, the 2023 race produced 4 new records (noted in bold font).
Overall fastest times:
- 5k female – Alma McMurtry – 23:10.3 (2020)
- 5k male – Brooks DeWaard – 20:15.7/6:31 mile pace (2023)
- 10k female – Aili Emory – 52.19.4 (2020)
- 10k male – David Larpenteur – 40:02.0 (2022)
Age group 10 & under (youngest finishers):
- 5k female – Kemmer Speyer 32:45.6/10:32 mile pace (2023)
- 5k male – Fredrik Kristiansen – 26:40.7/8:35 mile pace (2023)
Age group 70 – 79 (wisest finishers):
- 5k female – Susan Bennerstrom 35:41.1/11:29 mile pace (2023)
- 5k male – Terry Hileman – 29:56.0 (2022)
BBay Running and GBRC have joined together to start a program for runners to recycle their old running shoes. So bring all your old running shoes with you to the Padden Mudfest and we will take them off your hands and keep them out of our landfills. For more info on this program go to shoe recycling & reuse at bbayrunning.com.