Are you a hardened mudder? Or perhaps a prospective participant who has been researching the challenge in order to to justify the pain? You might think you know everything there is to know about Tough Mudder. Think again.
From the mind of Harvard graduates...
The original Mudders, Will Dean and Guy Livingstone, are two British graduates, of Harvard Business School. They came up with an idea for a 10-12 mile (16-19k) obstacle course designed to test strength, stamina, all-around fitness, and mental and physical grit in 2009. Tough Mudder was born. The concept was entered into an annual Harvard Business School competition, where it finished as a semi-finalist. The professors at Harvard thought it was a bad idea and couldn’t see how they were going to attract enough people to their events to succeed. But being the original Mudders, Will and Guy never gave up. They launched Tough Mudder in 2010, and to date participants have taken part across three continents and counting.
It’s not a race!
The Tough Mudder challenge is just that, a challenge. Co-founder Will Dean, a fitness fanatic, believed that marathons were boring and predictable, so he designed a long distance challenge that provided the exact opposite, something attractive to the fitness badass’ and thrill seekers. Times are irrelevant, it’s more about recruiting your friends and riding the physical and emotional rollercoaster that is Tough Mudder together. While you’re laying face down in a muddy pit thinking you can’t go on, at most events you’ll see strangers reaching in to pull you out. That’s the spirit of Tough Mudder!
Loners are a no go!
Tough Mudder is for you and your tribe, you simply can’t do it on your own. Individuals should only enter challenges as part of a team. There are those who go it alone but they will inevitably call on help from a stranger! Teamwork is the name of the game, and challenges like Everest, a half-pipe coated in mud and grease, with the objective of sprinting to the top and climbing over the beastly summit would be a nightmare without the help of your comrades.
You’ve finished the race, and got you’ve got your badge of honour, but badges are only temporary right? If you’re looking for something a little more permanent to mark your achievement then you can get your very own Tough Mudder trademark tattoo from one of the trained tattoo artists at the finish line at many of the events. Join the select group of 4000 people to date that wear their permanent badges with pride.
Get in the tribe mentality
If tattoos aren’t for you then Mudders can get in the mood for battle by donning the mullet or mohawk hairstyles. Come prepared or take advantage of the free cuts at race sites. Those with the most daring haircuts will be invited on to the stage with prizes awarded for the best mullet and mohawk.
Pit yourself against the British Special Forces
When Will and Guy founded Tough Mudder, they wanted to establish the toughest obstacles for participants and leave them with an unforgettable challenge. Cue the British Special Forces, who helped design the obstacles that harness the freezing cold, water, fire, electricity and fear to truly test the demands of all participants.
Prep is not about the daily gym grind
Tough Mudder is not your average event, so average training plans simply won’t cut it. Granted, sessions on the treadmill and pumping iron on the bench press will give you a head start before you tackle your Tough Mudder, but, they can’t prepare you for the mental and emotional strain that a Tough Mudder brings. Don’t worry though, Mudders can get Tough Mudder certified plans that give participants the leg up they need to get their hard-earned finisher’s medal.
2 million and counting...
From a gathering of 4500 people on the ski slopes of Pennsylvania, USA, at the inaugural Tough Mudder, to hitting the 1.5 million participant mark, Tough Mudder is now an established brand with more people signing up to take on the flaming hoops and mud pits than ever before.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any tougher!
Tough Mudder is all about the participation, but some Tough Mudder lovers want more! 2011 saw the first World’s Toughest Mudder event, with only the best of the best allowed. World’s Toughest Mudder makes its Tough Mudder sibling seem like child’s play. Elite Mudders endure a grueling 24 hours repeating laps of a 10 mile circuit with 20 obstacles, participants climb, run, crawl and swim on the course, with the participant who completes the most laps declared the World’s Toughest Mudder, taking home a $15,000 prize.
Millions for charity
It may be a personal achievement like no other, but Tough Mudder is more than just a challenging endurance course for your own personal gain. Associated with several charities, Tough Mudder and its participants have helped raise over £5 million through sponsorships. Working with Help for Heroes in the UK and the Wounded Warriors Project in the USA, the money raised helps fund projects that allow wounded members of the armed forces back into service or to help them to adjust back into civilian life.