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Tough mudders: Is this hard-core race for you?

If you’re looking to get fit or lose weight, signing up for a race is a great way to stay motivated long term. You’ll be hard pressed to find a course that demands full body training and commitment quite like a Tough Mudder does.

Women running in mud

The toughest event on the planet

You know a race is going to be challenging when it’s touted as “probably the toughest event on the planet.” Though some might not agree with that statement, there aren’t a lot of races out there that require you to plunge into icy tanks of water and sprint through live wires, all while running 16–19 kilometres. So if you want to challenge your body and mind in a whole new way, doing a Tough Mudder might be for you.

What is a Tough Mudder?

Adventure challenge races that involve running through mud and overcoming obstacles have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. They range from simple, 5-kilometre “mud runs” to nearly half marathon distance treks. Considering that Tough Mudders were designed by British Special Forces, they’re definitely on the latter end of the spectrum. They involve running 16–19 kilometres while tackling a variety of obstacles, such as mud pits, 12-foot-high walls, fire paths, cargo net crawls, live-wire fields and much more.

But what’s most important is that Tough Mudders are about teamwork. Whereas marathons and other running races are all about your own personal time, many of the obstacles in a Tough Mudder can’t be achieved without the help of your fellow racers. So whether you sign up on your own or with a group of friends, you’re part of making sure no man or woman gets left behind, and those around you will do the same for you. It isn’t about the race; it’s about the challenge. Now that’s a new and exciting concept!

What can you expect?

Certified personal trainer and fitness instructor Holly Greene did her first Tough Mudder last year and had a blast (while learning some important lessons along the way!) Wondering what some of the hardest obstacles are? Greene found the tub of icy water you must swim through (indicatively called the “Arctic Enema”) to be particularly painful to do — and to recover from. The 12-foot-high “Berlin Walls” were also no walk in the park and couldn’t be achieved without the help of others.

So to ensure you’re ready for whatever challenges are thrown your way, she recommends building upper body strength and becoming accustomed to cold water as much as possible. And do plenty of hill running — you’re running close to a half marathon, after all! And although Greene was lucky enough to not get too badly shocked in the two live wire obstacles, she noticed they slowed down those who did. But don’t let the fear of hard training and being faced with tough obstacles scare you away!

You never feel alone when you’re doing a Tough Mudder. Greene asserts that the race isn’t as much about competing as it is about willpower and working together to make sure everyone gets across the finish line. The tasks might seem impossible, but with the help of others you can make it to the end and achieve a sense of accomplishment that will last a lifetime.

How can you get involved?

As of right now there are three locations in Canada holding Tough Mudders: Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. But events are being held all over the world if you’re up for a little travel. You can register as an individual, or if you need extra motivation, ask a few friends if they’d be interested in joining you, and start your own team. Then sign up, and get training!

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