More and more often, if you are immersed in the marathon community, you may have heard the buzzword “Tough Mudder” surfacing and it may have triggered your curiosity. Beyond the obvious implication of what the words already convey, what exactly is Tough Mudder and who and what are involved in these races.
Many people that do Tough Mudder races are involved because they have been recruited for fundraising purposes. A number of these events are focused on raising money for charity and participants are recruited from police forces, firehalls and other institutions that boast a body of individuals that can handle everything that the term of the race may imply. Many of those that engage are doing so to make a contribution to the charity receiving the support and yet others, participate for other reasons.
It’s been described by participants as something that brings out the primal warrior within and challenges those running to dig deeper for motivation in the face of the obstacles presented. The spirit of competition and the potential to prove that you and your associates are the toughest team in the race are both fun and inspirational aspects of running a Tough Mudder.
The event is generally a 24 hour race that may span about 20 km of terrain strewn with interval challenges scattered throughout the race course that racers need to rise to overcome. Everyone that finishes receive the negligible booty of a brightly coloured headband along with a free beer so one can only assume that they’re not doing it for the spoils of victory.
The primary motivation seems to be to push oneself to their absolute limit to prove to themselves and others that it is possible, to engage in the team-spirited camaraderie and to do so while making a greater difference in a cause that is greater than you. The only thing that is required is that you finish – your course time is not significant.
The race has been around for a few years now and has begun to really grow in popularity, now drawing a registered group of racers that has almost tripled since its inception. A two day event in the eastern United States that happened this spring drew a group of 12,000 to the event to participate over the course of two days. The impact of this growth has also helped to fundraise millions of dollars invested to support various charities.
Tough Mudder events are also now being used to create teambuilding experiences by corporations. It provides groups with a company outing, it builds a collaborative spirit and it’s just overall fun. And, yes, of course you get that beer.
There are numerous other races that are now cropping up in the marketplace to emulate the Tough Mudder philosophy including the Warrior Dash which is somewhat shorter and perhaps a bit less gruelling. Overall, the Tough Mudder is designed to be very difficult and at the same time, entertaining and self-affirming.
Some of the challenges include the Arctic Enema, Electroshock Therapy, Fire Walker and many other that sound just as frightening as these few. And they are actually exactly what they sound like – swimming underwater in freezing temperatures, maneuvering around live wires, dashing through 4 foot flames….seriously. This race is not for sissies.
Overall, it is a great race for those that love the risk and to face their fears. Finishing the race leaves you with such a personal feeling of fulfillment that you’ll definitely recommend it to others. And others might to stick to buying their beer at the pub.