I've been hearing about the Tough Mudder race from many of the parents in my community for a while now. Imported from the UK and designed by British Special Forces, this 10-12 mile obstacle course is the hottest new endurance event to hit North America. I decided to research it a bit to find out if it was just a trend in my circle of friends, or truly a phenomenon.
I put feelers out via my Facebook friends and was flooded with responses from people willing to talk to me about their participation. It seems the Tough Mudder has officially taken hold as a fitness trend for Type A's looking for a new fitness challenge.
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Tough Mudder was founded by Englishmen Will Dean and Guy Livingstone. Dean came up with the idea while at Harvard Business School, and it was a finalist in the Harvard Business School's annual Business Plan Contest. The first Tough Mudder took place two years ago. Since then, the number of Tough Mudder events has increased exponentially with 14 events in 2011, and 28 scheduled in 2012. More than 500,000 participants worldwide have successfully completed the 10-12 mile obstacle course of hills, mud, icy water, ropes, walls, electric shocks, and fire.
Tough Mudder participants raise money via pledges for the Wounded Warrior Project. To date, Tough Mudder participants have raised approximately $3 million to support thousands of warriors returning from the battlefield.
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I was invited to join a team but something held me back. Being in my late 30s, I now don't have the same drive to prove to myself or anyone else that I'm tough as nails. I now know that I can get through just about anything if I have to and am loving my weekends reading on the couch and drinking vino. It might not be right for me but this event is perfect for:
People who are bored by typical endurance events and want to up the ante.
Fitness fanatic and fellow trainer Amanda Thebe is doing it for the first time this year and because she's looking for something a little more challenging than the normal endurance events. According to Amanda, "Running for miles on end can become boring, adding the obstacles as an extra challenge appeals to lots of people."
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People who need to work towards a goal in order to stay on track with fitness activities.
Training for an event is also an excellent way to stay on track with fitness goals. Amanda's teammate, Zayna Khayat says that "by having the event as an anchor, I've been forced to establish a habit out of doing the required endurance training and strength training."
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People who have had to overcome difficult life circumstances and need a cathartic release.
People who need to believe in their inner strength and feel burdened by fears that stop them from tackling new challenges. Maybe by putting ourselves through optional suffering and facing our fear of pain, we become cleansed of emotional baggage and somehow baptized to start anew in the world.
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Who shouldn't do it:
The Tough Mudder is not the type of event someone who has any sleep issues, is suffering from prolonged stress or is dealing with injuries should sign up for. Plus the amount of training hours needed to prepare for the event make it difficult for people already super stretched for time.
I chatted with Zayna Khayat who is on Amanda's team to find out what she's hoping to get out of the event: She wants to feel strong, fierce and a little sore. Like she held nothing back. Amanda is looking forward to getting sprayed from the fighter fighter's hose at the end of the race!
What's the toughest physical challenge you've ever undertaken?
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