Image by: DVIDSHUB
By Robert Spencer
There are over 1 million Tough Mudder participants in America. If you’re one of the few who aren’t sure of what Tough Mudder is, think of a triathlon, except more difficult and paved with obstacles. And, of course, when I mean paved, I’m really kidding because none of the tracks are paved. You run in waist deep mud and slosh around in muddy water with your friends and complete strangers.
It’s a riot but it’s also the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do in my life. There are hundreds of testimonials of men (and women) who have all experienced the thrill, exhilaration, and triumph of this event. These mudders are extraordinary.
Mudders all over this world (and men who are excited and willing to join the ranks of these mudders) will be happy to know that there will be some fantastic new obstacles for the 2014 season.
What is the Tough Mudder? Besides being an experience of a lifetime, it is an obstacle course with hurdles ranging from “The Everest” (which is a steep and smooth incline that you’ll have to sprint toward, climb, and conquer with your closest and muddiest friends) to “The Dong Dangler” (which is an obstacle where you have to cross a muddy pool of water with only one rope to hang on to).
These obstacles test your strength, agility, and camaraderie with strangers who are going through the same experiences with you and your friends, who have naïvely agreed to do the same. This is for marathon and triathlon athletes who want to do more than just
Have you seen American Ninja Warrior? This is America’s Muddiest Warriors.
However, the winner of “The World’s Tough Mudder” 2013 wasn’t an American; he was Canadian. In an interview with the Tough Mudder website, Ryan Atkins (who completed an astounding 100 miles of obstacles in 24 hours) suggested that future contenders should,
”Make sure that you do lots of training in the gear that you decide to use. Make sure it works and that you know it very well. This alone can make or break your race. Also, learn to replicate as much of the event as possible in training.”
What can the 2014 competitors look forward to this year? Among the regular obstacles will be these three new “hurdles”.
#1) The Human Pyramid
The objective of “The Human Pyramid” is to scale a 12-foot slanted wall. You’ll need the help of the mudders around you because there’s no rope. That’s why this particular obstacle focuses on camaraderie. Create a chain of arms and legs. Create a human pyramid for the initial mudder to be able to get to the top to help others.
#2) Pole Dancer
Yes, this one’s called “pole dancer”. Yes, women will be doing this too. No, they will not be taking off their clothes. Sorry guys.
There will be two rails that cross a water pit which is deeper than you are tall (doesn’t matter how tall you are). Doesn’t sound so bad? Well, the poles (that you have to grip with your hands) are a different inclines and declines. This obstacle focuses on your strength and your determination.
#3) Family Feud
This one reminds me of American Gladiator. Remember that show?
In this obstacle, you have to cross a wooden beam over muddy water. What’s so hard about that? Well, other mudders will be trying to knock you off buy swinging huge water buoys at you. This one’s not so focused on camaraderie – just balance and coordination.
#4) Mudder Legion
In addition to those three obstacles, another new concept that the Mudder coordinators are throwing in this year is the “Mudder Legion” category. How do you qualify for the “Mudder Legion”?
You need to have competed in at least one course in the past in order to be eligible for the Mudder Legion (a community of multi-mudder competition athletes). If you get in, you’ll be able to reap the benefits like a specific, Legion-only obstacle, headbands representing how many courses you’ve done throughout the years, and access to the “Legionnaires’’ Loop” (which is an extension of the course).
#5) Why Be a Mudder?
Men (and women) who decide to be mudders are athletes. Most of them aren’t professional athletes (in fact, Ryan Atkins is actually a design engineer), but they train and they have the determination of the best athletes in any sport. The Tough Mudder will challenge you physically, mentally, and will push you to your every limit.
Does your girlfriend do Zumba? If she does, she probably goes on and on about “Oh, the Zumba-gals and I did… [something, something, you probably stopped listening about here]” Well, Tough Mudder has that kind of camaraderie among its participants. You go through tough obstacles together. You sweat together. You fall together and you pick each other back up.
Tough Mudder is a chance for you to test your abilities as an athlete as well as your will power. If you’re interested in training and joining the next event, check out their events page on their website.