Dec 4, 2012

The mud run explosion:

Tough Mudder has been a fairly trendy commodity since it's debut in 2010.  In only 6 weeks, it was able to register 3000 participants for its first event.  And since that first event, it has expanded to many other states and other countries, still unable to feed the demand.  So, like many initially successful business plans, there are always immediate imitators.  Here are 5 similar (and less expensive) obstacle courses that have spurred existence because of the influence of Tough Mudder.

1. Warrior Dash
Warrior Dash is a shorter version of Tough Mudder.  It throws contestants through an obstacle course/mud run, but it is only a 5k event.  They claim the race will only take about 30 - 45 minutes.  For those looking for a shorter event, with the same after party, check out Warrior Dash.

2. Spartan Race
Spartan Race is for the serious competitors.  One of Tough Mudder's slogans is that their race is not designed to be competitive  but for camaraderie.  Well Spartan Race tosses that notion out the happy window and taunts its contestants to win.  One of the more versatile races, it offers a 5k run, an 8 -10 mile run, and a 10-12 mile run.  Then, there's the popular Death Race, with bragging rights of being uncompleted by 90% of its entrants.  For the more competitive, give Spartan Race a glance over.

3. CerebRun - Get Mental Mud Run
CerebRun is the most interesting and interactive mud run option.  Not only does this race claim to be a brutal course of 5-7 miles, but it includes puzzles and problems, that dictate the length and difficulty of the CerebRunner's course.  Their website provides an online quiz that includes puzzles and problems, designed to alleviate cognitive bias.  This is the only mud run to include puzzles and problems, and seems to have blended a very interesting mix of physical and mental events.

3. Rugged Maniac
Rugged Maniac looks to be a half-assed obstacle course, with a pathetic marketing scheme, an elementary sketched logo, and a minimally functional website.  It's a 5k run, probably exactly the same as Warrior Dash.  But the registration is cheap, which is one thing that it has going for it.

4. Hero Rush
Hero Rush is interesting.  It is influenced by the real-life experiences of fire fighters.  They haven't issued any events just yet, but from what it sounds, participants will be jumping in burning homes to save people.  Basically, firefighters are sweet, and so are fires.  Keeping a close eye on this one.

5. Run for your Lives!
Run for your Lives takes a different angle.  Another 5k, tucked in the woods, where zombies chase the participants.  The participants run with flags on their sides, like flag-football.  Then, people can sign up to be zombies and chase down the uninfected.

Clearly, these types of events and long distance obstacle courses have been with held from American society.  The sheer demand is proof of that.  So as of now, while the initial, thoughtless start ups are enjoying the quick financial gain, we'll have to wait to see what inventive tycoon can come through and really improve on what is becoming an overly trending experience.