I ran my first ultramarathon at Dances With Dirt-Hell in 2000.  It was a life-altering experience for me.  I did the 50k race that year, just 5 miles longer than a standard marathon, but worlds apart.

First, in order to run this race, you have to sign a waiver that mentions your death not once, but three times.

This race is run on trails.  And OFF trails.  Not only do you have to cover an extreme distance, but you have to be alert at all times for trail markings that usually take you away from a perfectly good trail and into what we will refer to as "stupid spots."

Those stupid spots may be composed of swamps, streams, rivers, lakes, briar patches, poison ivy, and hills that require a butt-slide on the descent.

Dances With Dirt offers a 50k (31 miles) and 50-mile ultramarathon race.  They also have a 100k relay, where teams of 5 people take turns running through the swamp grunge and other fun features found on this course.

The relay race sells out as soon as entries become available early in the year.  Around 450 teams of 5 will hit the trail at this year's DWD in Hell, Michigan.

The relay teams often dress in costumes and decorate their team vehicles.  It is a parade of insanity!

The ultramarathoners start in the dark and hope to finish before it gets dark again.  There is a 13-hour time limit for the 50-milers.

This year, my wife and I are both signed up to run the 50-mile event.

I plan to carry a camera with me on my journey through woods, water and ick.  I hope to have some good pictures to share when it is over.

If you're up for a real adventure race, you might sign up yourself.  Or volunteer to get a close look at what goes on in Hell!

By the way, there is an aid station in Hell.  The Prince of Darkness is in full costume offering runners a cool  drink of water in Hell.

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