Twenty years ago, if people were to ask you to take a day to slop through miles of mud, only to possibly be rewarded with beer or a turkey leg, you’d think they were crazy.
Not any more!
No longer satisfied with organized sports, bike races, marathons, triathlons, or adventure races, Americans have found a new way to test their bodies and their wills by competing against like-minded people in battles featuring wet, sticky soft earth, otherwise known as mud!
And why? Maybe because it’s a cathartic release from the stresses of work and life, an excuse to be crazy, or maybe some people really love mud, or do they hate it? Regardless of the reason, here are some of the USA’s most popular mud runs.
Photo by: chairmanblueslovakia // License: Creative Commons // Edits: Crop
Let’s ease into this with the a race your more athletic coworkers may have boasted about: Tough Mudder (toughmudder.com). It’s a team-based race, and you and your pals traverse 25 military-style obstacles designed by British Special Forces – which means it’s no cakewalk and there’s a chance you may not finish it. 78 percent of people do finish the race, and if you’re tough enough, you get to celebrate your success in the beer and live music that follows. You will have tackled fire pits, icy water and heaps of mud in all of its forms. If you and your pals have what it takes, consider signing up for Tough Mudder when races start springing up around the country this Spring.
Warrior Dash (warriordash.com) doesn’t take itself as seriously as Tough Mudder – and that’s part of the allure! The Dash is a perfect option for beginners who have more of an interest in being silly than training for the next Iron Man. The Warrior Dash is 5 kilometers, slightly more than 3 miles of barricades with dubious names like the “Goliath,” “Road Rage,” and “Warrior’s Roast,” meant to challenge and entertain. Complete it and you will be rewarded with a true prize: a Viking warrior helmet, a stein of beer, and a turkey leg. If that doesn’t make you feel like a warrior, few things will!
Are you up for the best of the best? For anyone tired of the traditional trials of strength and will, say hello to the Spartan Race (spartanrace.com). Named after 300 warriors famous for facing down an army of 100,000, you know the Spartan Race is no joke. You choose from four muddy runs: the three-mile Spartan Sprint, the eight-mile Super Spartan, the 12-mile Spartan Beast, and the nigh-inhuman 26.2-mile Ultra Beast! Each Spartan Race tests you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Obstacles are known to change year to year, meaning you can’t learn from previous defeats. Skipping obstacles and you’re rewarded with burpees. The Spartan Race, particularly the Ultra Beast, is not designed to be fun. But look it at this way: if you can jump into 26-plus miles of mud, and come out the other side, possibly you, too, could face an army of 100,000!
No matter which of the races you may find yourself doing once the weather starts to warm up again, you’re bound to wrap up your adventure muddy and tired. But two things you don’t have to contend with are chafing and blisters. During training and for your race, start your day by applying Original Body Glide anti-blister and anti-chafing balm anywhere on your body where you are vulnerable to rubbing to ensure that the only discomfort you’re going to deal with after the race is some muscle fatigue and a belly stuffed with beer and turkey. Just because you’re going to be a muddy warrior doesn’t mean you have to be a chafed and blistered.