Tire tunnels, monkey bars and...live wires? Tough Mudder offers a seriousfitness challenge
As Austin gears up for the AVIA Austin Triathlon, another set of athletes is bracing itself for the upcoming Tough Mudder challenge, a grueling 22-obstacle course that pushes personal endurance to the limit.
This October 8th and 9th, the Central Texas Tough Mudder will be one of scores of affiliated regional events being held around the globe. While there have only been ten previous Tough Mudder challenges held in the US, the idea of a camaraderie-fueled, mud-covered course is so appealing to athletes that there are specially-designed events slated for Japan, England and Australia over the next year.
The event is open for registration and geared towards “tough mudders” more concerned with taking on a personal challenge than competing against others (though there is an elite sector, who compete in the World’s Toughest Mudder competition). According to the event’s founders, Tough Mudder exists “because there is not an event in America that tests toughness, fitness, strength, stamina and mental grit all in one place and all in one day.”
It’s definitely more intense than your average workout, or a typical tri; the main difference is, Tough Mudder is a much longer course. They’re also custom designed to their environment, with organizers favoring “hostile environments, often at altitude,” to guarantee you’ll be pushed to your limit.
The Central Texas course specifically is ten miles long, with an estimated completion time of two and a half hours. There are 22 obstacles and checkpoints including: tire tunnels, fallen trees, a fire run, a trench maze, walls and slick hills to scale, greased monkey bars, four unknown “mystery obstacles” and, right before the finish line, Electroshock Therapy, a sprint through a field of live wires.
Wait, what? While some of these things actually sound pretty dangerous, Tough Mudder insists that athletes of all skill levels can take it on—and they provide plenty of tips on how to train, breaking down endurance-building into manageable mini-workouts.
And it’s not like participating doesn’t have it’s payoffs; after the race, “[a]ll participants will have the opportunity to be hosed down by volunteer firemen after finishing the course.” (Sign me up!)
Though it is a rough, hardcore event, Tough Mudder is also serious about community-building. They emphasize the personal element of the challenge by asking all included to recite a pledge, ending with the declaration, “I will overcome all fears.”
They’re also big supporters of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a non profit aiding injured soldiers. Tough Mudder rewards competitors who raise funds for the organization with discounted entry fees.
If you’re not quite ready to tackle this year’s Tough Mudder, don’t fear: they’ll be back in Austin, Dallas and on the Texas Coast next year (so start prepping now).
Here’s a preview of what you can expect at the event:
And a longer look at the last Texas Tough Mudder: