I don’t care what they say. Some stuff just does not come out in the wash. Anyone who has kids will back me up on this. Even the most resistant carpets, upholstery, and clothing can eventually fall victim to some sort of stain. And most of us have a favorite shirt, jersey, or pair of jeans that’s tattooed with an errant drop of who knows what. In the right places and amounts, such stains add “character” to a well-worn piece. They may make great conversation starters or serve as souvenirs from a first date, big race, or other great memory. Perhaps you’re the creative type whose paint-and-plaster splotched britches reflect the many media in which you dabble. Or maybe you’re simply a slob.
Regardless, your mud run of choice will leave you facing a dilemma you may not have anticipated: Should you ditch these muddy duds right there, or tote the crusty mess back home and hope your Maytag is up to the test? Fabric-care instructions are usually located on the tags we clip from the clothes before the first wearing. They’re nearly useless anyway, as they’re usually printed in those unrecognizable “international” symbols. So we subject our high-tech and often high-zoot athletic apparel to the ho-hum of “machine wash warb, tumble dry.”
But mud don’t play like that, so I went straight to the experts. The USMC Ultimate Challenge Mud Run has been on the calendar in Columbia, S.C., since before mud runs were cool. I asked event director Bill Toomey if they had any special instructions for handling all that dirty laundry. Literally. Toomey told me they’ve put large trash bins near the changing stations at the finish – and they’re pretty popular. Folks are prone to dropping extra layers along the course, too. Most of it’s the usual stuff: jackets, shirts and shoes. Underwear turns up on occasion, although there are no reports of finishers crossing the line sans pants. They’ve tried collecting, sorting, cleaning, and donating the duds, but most of the cast-offs aren’t fit for charity. That should tell you something.
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