Tough Mudder is hands down the most demanding mass race on Earth. I will be doing this race 4 days from now with a team of 4 that I gathered several months ago. A quick overview of the race is a 10-12 mile obstacle course through mud and icy water, over hills and into trenches, through fire and electricity and more. A death waiver is required for all applicants while only 3/4 of the racers actually complete the course. You want tough, this is tough.
Tough Mudder was created a couple years ago by a Harvard student who had a project tasked to him by a professor in a goal of finding a potentially successful start-up company that is unique in today’s world. When the professor heard of his this student’s idea, he thought it was crazy and he would be lucky to get a hundred people at the first event. Well, the Harvard professor was wrong, over 10,000 people showed up! Tough Mudder now holds races once a month (on a Saturday and Sunday) all over the world with each course being completely and totally independent of the last.
The costs range from $80 up to $200 depending on how soon in advance you sign up. The majority of the money goes to the Wounded Warriors Project while the rest goes to paying staff and course construction. This is why the prices seem so high, but when you see where the funds are going, you’ll be happy. I always find it funny that people will donate hundreds or even thousands of dollars to their political party of choice for the upcoming election but might consider a tens of dollars to wounded veterans a high price to pay. Makes me curious, hah.
Anyway, there are 24 obstacles in the upcoming Wisconsin race I am doing. Obstacles include: Braveheart Charge, Death March, The Gauntlet, Boa Constrictor, Funky Monkey, Berlin Walls, Devil’s Beard, Cliffhanger, Kiss of Mud, Turd’s Nest, Log Bog Jog, Shake and Bake, Walk the Plank, Underwater Tunnels, Spider’s Web, Berlin Walls, Greased Lightning, Firewalker, Everest, Ball Shrinker, Twinkle Toes, Dry Wood, Mystery Obstacle, Chernobyl Jacuzzi and Electroshock Therapy. Look here for course map.
All of these obstacles take place in heavy mud, water, fire or electricity, or all at the same time. And between the obstacles are nothing but wet and muddy hill climbs… often times involving the carrying of a partner or a log. Speaking of partners, this is supposed to be a team challenge. It literally cannot be completed without the help of a friend or some random stranger willing to help. In fact, immediately before the race, at the Braveheart Charge… they make everyone take the “Tough Mudder Pledge” which states that no Tough Mudder will be left un-helped if help is available to be given.
It is NOT a race but a challenge, but if you CHOOSE to time yourself you have the possibility of making it into the World Tough Mudder challenge, which is probably the only event that is tougher than this.
Tough Mudder takes the average person about 2.5 hours to complete… and this is for mostly athletic people. Overweight people are rare on the course but you do see them. I give such great props for men and women who are overweight and attempt this course. If it was a goal set or the stepping stone in their road to healthy living, it sure is one big one.
Once/If Tough Mudder is completed, you will receive an orange Tough Mudder headband, admitted into the after party with a live band, drinks and food. You also receive free tattoo vouchers for the Tough Mudder logo and you get the honor of being one of the few who have completed the challenge… a challenge less accomplished than a marathon. If you really want to test your toughness and have an awesome time doing it, sign up, it’s totally worth it AND it’s a charity. Look forward to reading about my experience when I get back from Wisconsin on July 24th, 2011… hopefully having accomplished the race.