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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

‘Tough Mudders’ Compete For Muddy Glory

A man participates in a Tough Mudder in Pennsylvania, in April 2012. (Flickr/The 621st Contingency Response Wing)

A man participates in a Tough Mudder event in Pennsylvania, in April 2012. (Flickr/The 621st Contingency Response Wing)

Extreme obstacle course challenges like the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Spartan Race have become a booming business – it’s now a 150 million dollar industry.

Participants in the Tough Mudder pay $95 to $200 to run 10 to 12 miles courses where they face challenges such as the Electric Eel: crawling through mud underneath live wires that deliver a 10,000 volt shock.

Time magazine sports reporter Sean Gregory, who took part in a Tough Mudder in Sarasota, Fla. told Here & Now’s Robin Young, “it stinks, it’s horrible, it’s a shock that goes through your body,” but the fact that you’ve already gone through other obstacles and that everyone else is going through it tends to build motivation.

The events also build camaraderie. Participants don’t race against each other, in fact, they often help each other over the tougher challenges.

The Tough Mudder is perfect for the age of social media, Gregory said, since it bills itself as “probably the toughest event on the planet.”

People can brag on Facebook and Twitter about taking part, but “it really isn’t that hard, ’cause you do it at your own pace and you get help out there,” he said.

Reporter Sean Gregory takes the Tough Mudder challenge:


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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