Black Mountain Software’s “Nerd Herd” Does the Dirty Dash

by: David Tyler, Director of Marketing & Communications

Sept. 9, 2014

When the alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. last Saturday morning, my first thought was of my Black Mountain Software coworkers. It wasn’t a typical Saturday morning. It was the morning that the BMS “Nerd Herd” would assemble and take on The Dirty Dash challenge.

What is the BMS Nerd Herd? Contrary to rumor, it is not a department within Black Mountain Software. Because nearly everyone who works at BMS is either into technology or accounting (yep, a little nerdy), it seemed like a good name for a team assembled from various departments for the purpose of participating in an obstacle course run. Some of us had family members that joined the team as well, i.e., “relative” nerds.

What is The Dirty Dash? Conducted in cities across the US throughout the year, The Dirty Dash takes obstacle course running to whole new levels – levels which include mountains of mud and cannons of sludge. For this kind of run, you need strength and courage to overcome menacing obstacles, plus an effervescent spirit and complete lack of shame to wallow in mud.

Several of us had been enthusiastically convinced by BMS Dirty Dash veterans that this run was too much fun to miss out on. In fact, so much fun – and with added benefits of physical fitness and team-building – that they’d even convinced Black Mountain Software to pay 50% of the entry fee for each staff member that registered to take part in the challenge. Thus, spurred on by our company and Dirty evangelists, the Nerd Herd was born.

Getting dressed on the morning of the mud run was a breeze. Shower? No – why bother. Hair washed? No – pointless. Clean underwear? Yes. (But in hindsight, it would have been better to skip the underwear all together; delicate undergarments are hopelessly ruined by embedded mud.) Nerd glasses? Check. Nerd suspenders? Yep. Nerd shirt? Got it buttoned up, with a pen in the chest pocket. Nerd socks? Oh yah.

After a hearty breakfast and a 90 minute drive to Missoula (all the time hoping I wouldn’t get pulled over or have a flat tire causing me to be seen by the general public in my crazy attire), my three kids and I arrived at Flying H Stables. Among the thousands of people at the stable grounds turned muddy-track-and-obstacle course, the Nerd Herd members found one another and assembled at the check-in point. After group photos, high-fives, and words of encouragement, our 11:20 a.m. wave of runners was called up. We were off! And we were immediately up to our waists in muddy water, feet sinking ankle deep in the sludge beneath. One of our teammates lost her shoes in that initial mud pit – her shoes were so relentlessly stuck that she had to pull her feet out of them and leave them behind, completing the rest of the run in socks borrowed from a teammate.

We crawled through half-immersed culvert pipes, climbed rope walls, traversed a pond, catapulted over wooden barriers, hopped through a mucky tire drill, climbed a mud mountain and on the other side went through the “rinse cycle” (one of the country’s largest inflatable water slides) – only to immediately be faced with three consecutive mud pit/mud wall obstacles which left us even more mud-drenched than we were before the rinse. Through the 3-mile course, there were moments when nearly every one of us felt we might not be able to make it through (or over or under) an obstacle. But there were always teammates – or complete strangers – that gave us encouragement or a helping hand.

Your grandmother might not agree, but The Dirty Dash taught me that letting loose, testing your mettle, and getting dirtier than you’ve ever been in your life is a good thing. And doing it with the help and shared laughter of your coworkers makes it even better.

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