Tough Mudder is self-proclaimed ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’, whilst we’re not entirely sure this is true, 12-miles of running broken up by a series of obstacle designed by the Special Forces may prove us wrong.
Originating in the US but set up by two Englishmen, Tough Mudder challenges are now popping up all over the UK giving us all the opportunity to take on the challenge. It’s not so much a race (you won’t get timed unless you do it yourself), more a true test of teamwork, endurance and all round fitness.
The first Tough Mudder event took place in 2010, as a way of providing a tough, get logistically easy challenge for hardcore athletes. Yes, there are other challenges, but Tough Mudder set out to run a one day race, in an easy to reach location, that would truly test even the most dedicated of athletes. But the ethos of Tough Mudder is different to that of many races, it’s all about team work, to make the dream work. It’s quite simple, you will not finish without the help and support of others. If you go for glory, attempt to win in record time, one of the Tough Mudder obstacles is sure to stop you in your tracks. The best way to enter is to rally round a few like minded mates, train together and then take on the challenge as a well oiled machine; otherwise you maybe calling on fellow runners for assistance over the Berlin Wall!
The obstacles and courses vary, depending on where you take part. The Tough Mudder South will take place at Matterley Estate, near Winchester, and the obstacles that have been announced will strike fear into the heart of even the bravest of runner. The Bale Bounds and Dirty Ballerina may not sound too bad, however names can be deceiving; take a look a the Electric Eel and Electric Shock Therapy too, these might not test your physical fitness but they look like the most intimidating of obstacles!
The Tough Mudder Pledge says it all:
As a Tough Mudder I pledge that…
• I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
• I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
• I do not whine – kids whine.
• I help my fellow Mudders complete the course.
• I overcome all fears.
Name: Tough Mudder (South)
Distance: 12 miles
Ascent (m): n/a
Record time: They don’t record times, but a few have self-timed just below the 1 hour 30 minute mark.
Typical/average time: 2 hours 30 minutes
How Hard: Score 7/10
As it says in the title, this is tough and muddy, plus a test of true all round fitness. The ideal challenge for a range of fitness fanatics; from a seasoned runner looking to try something a different, to the muscle bound wanting to prove their worth and everyone in between looking for a fun but extreme challenge.
When to go:
Events run throughout the year, remaining events for 2013 as follows:
- Scotland: 24th-25th August 2013
- Yorkshire: 7th-8th September 2013
- South West: 21st-22nd September 2013
- North West: 5th-6th October 2013
What do I need?
- Shoes – normal running shoes. Cleats won’t help – in fact they’ll be worse on your feet and are dangerous for the other participants.
- Clothes – lightweight stuff that dries quickly. Even if it’s a cold day, heavy or thick clothing will just retain water and make you colder. You should also bring a change of clothes for after the event so you can enjoy the post party.
- Gloves – this one is more debatable. Some people swear by them, others prefer to go glove-less (faster drying). If you go with gloves, be sure to grab tough, thick ones to prevent burns from the ropes and splinters from the walls.
Other important items:
- Photo ID – You MUST bring a photo ID. We cannot stress this enough.
- Copy of your confirmation email.
- A watch – if you care about knowing your time. It’s on you to time yourself.
How to prepare:
- 3 Week Tough Mudder Training Program: Crossfit trainer Chris Dear has put together an intensive 3-week program to get you prepped for your first Tough Mudder.
- One True Grit: A two-leg series of similar obstacle races. With an event in Hertfordshire and another in Yorkshire.
- Born-survivor: An obstacle race in the Lake District with a course set by Royal Marine Commandos.
- Xtreme STORM: Another race with a course set by ex-Special Forces members. This time up in Southport.
Get Into Obstacle Racing: What exactly is this new fad for running over and under stuff, anyway?
Top 10 alternatives: Not got a place on this weekend’s Tough Mudder? Then check out some of these cracking alternatives.
Report by Amy Carter
Amy Carter is a former professional windsurfer, turned Editor of Boards Magazine www.boards.co.uk and Boardseeker International www.boardseekermag.com
Amy is a watersports fanatic, enjoying wakeboarding, SUPing and surfing, alongside windsurfing, as well as many other activities and fitness training on land. A personal trainer and watersports coach, Amy also runs FLOW – For Ladies Of Watersports www.flowatersports.com providing a community, instruction and advice for water women. Her most recent challenge? Trekking to Everest Base Camp in April 2013.