How To Run a Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder

I’m always looking for a new challenge to briefly stem my adventure ADHD. With the recent rise in popularity, no doubt everyone has either participated in (or knows someone who has) a muddy adventure race. The past two summers my friends and I participated in the Warrior Dash, a 5km adventure race designed to be “the craziest freaking day of your life.” While the event fell well short of this claim it provided an excellent medium for a great party and a new event to cross off the bucket list. As usual, as soon as this was finished it opened the creative brainstorming for the next viable option and progression along the difficulty ladder. Enter the Tough Mudder.

Tough Mudder

How To Run A Tough Mudder

The Tough Mudder is a 17km adventure race designed by the British Special Forces to physically and mentally test the participants. The racers crawl under barbed wire, swim through ice water, swing across greased up monkey bars and conclude with the “Electro Shock Therapy” which is a truss system from which hundreds of live wires dangle and deliver an electric shock of 10,000 volts to the unsuspecting victims. 17,000 participants attempted the course over two days and the spirit of teamwork and camaraderie was encouraged throughout as several obstacles required two or more fellow murders to complete.

It is a exhausting event but an exciting challenge nonetheless and all proceeds from the event go to Wounded Warriors, a charity supporting injured soldiers returning from foreign wars. We were extremely impressed with the level of professionalism that went into organizing and executing an event of this caliber.

I had been registered for several months when race day arrived but had no idea how to run a Tough Mudder. Nursing a terribly injured knee later to be confirmed as a torn medial meniscus, I awoke and seriously contemplated not participating. I hadn’t run once (no, really, not once) for over six months and was now faced with the prospect of completing a 3 hour obstacle. But foolish pride begot me and I velcroed up the trusty Vibram Five Fingers and arrived at the start line with my usual adventure race crew, albeit with very low expectations.

Not being a cardiovascular aficionado of any sorts prior I decided to lollygag my way through and focused more on completion than results.

Our initial intentions were to remain together as a team but as the first of six complete summits of the ski hill would have it, fatigue set in and some elected to remain behind at a slower pace while those able to forged ahead.

To put it bluntly, this was not an enjoyable endeavor. I didn’t have fun nor can I fathom how anyone can pretend to enjoy themselves as they submerge into ice water and then immediately walk up a ski hill to crawl over gravel and then electrocute themselves. But not to be quitters, we trudged on.

With those running at a pace comfortable alongside myself we managed to complete the course in a surprisingly brisk time of 2:35. I had no idea how this stacked up but I knew my knee didn’t hurt and that everything about the afternoon sucked. A cold beer on this hot day never tasted better but walking was laboured for days afterward.

tough mudder

I openly expressed my disdain for anything cardio related and vowed never to participate in this nonsense again. But a few days later I received an email from the organizers informing me that my time had placed me in the top 5% of participants that day and as such I had qualified for the World’s Toughest Mudder to be held in November. Much to my chagrin I knew I had no choice but to do more of this Tough Mudder crap.

Long story short, I registered for this ridiculous event. A string of profanities escaped my mouth as I entered my credit card information. I guess more of this nonsense is ahead…

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