Yes, I'm sure you've heard about this "mud run" trend and if not, well, catch up. Tough Mudder being the king of all mud runs consists of 10-12 miles with obstacles designed by the British Special Forces to test "strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie." Founded in 2010, the event is held in cities all over the nation as well as Australia, Canada, Germany and the UK. 23 obstacles include mud, fire, ice-water, and 10,000 volts of electricity. Why would anyone choose to put oneself through all of this physical torture? Well, why the hell not..
I attended the first day of the Pennsylvania Mudder event in Pocono Manor as a spectator. The event has been known to attract about 15-20,000 participants over a two day weekend. With my $20 pass I was able to catch mudders in action alongside the few obstacles I could get to . However, since the course was spread along 12 miles it was hard to keep up as some obstacles were not as accessible as others. The few that were "spectator friendly" included Artic Enigma (a large commercial dumpster filled with ice water and a wood barrier in the center forcing you to physically dunk your head underwater to get to the other side), Berlin Walls, Walk the Plank (jump off a 25-30 foot platform into a lake), Electroshock Therapy (crawling on your elbows through dangling electric wires) and Boa Constrictor (squeezing through a series of pipes into freezing mud). In between courses were uphill runs, mud climbs, runs through fire and smoke, gymnast rings and monkey bars, to name a few.
Typically, 15-20% of participants unfortunately do not complete the course. As a spectator you witness perfect strangers helping each other over walls, carrying logs or even picking each other up after uncomfortably being shocked by dangling wires. Each mudder sticking side by side and keeping up with the pace of the rest of the pack was really fulfilling to watch; realizing that the event wasn't a solo "tough guy competition" but really displayed a sense of community and team work. All six members of the team I went to support finished in about 3.5 hours. With all of this being said, congrats to all the participants (especially you six), great job, really... GREAT JOB!