Bored with Marathons? Register for the Tough Mudder and Get Dirty

Running a marathon is an astounding accomplishment.  An incredible amount of mental and physical discipline, not to mention months and months of training, is required to pound the pavement for 26.2 miles.  Vancouver is home to the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May, not to mention the Sun Run in April, one of the biggest 10k races in the world.

But road races can sometimes be a little boring – to run and to watch.  Hour after hour of trotting along at a steady clip just isn’t for everybody.  And that’s where the Tough Mudder comes in – an extreme take on the old-fashioned marathon.

Tough Mudder events are kind of like timed obstacle courses.  Imagine 10-12 miles of mud and water, climbing walls and trenches, all designed by British Special Forces to test not just cardio endurance but strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie.  If that sounds like your idea of a fun day out, you can register online now for the Tough Mudder coming to BC this summer on June 23-24.

Here’s what to expect:

The event is being held in Whistler.  The course winds through Whistler Village and stretches for 10 miles into the surrounding mountains, with 24 separate obstacles.  An estimated 5,000 participants will be at the starting line.  Significantly fewer will make it to the finish line, approximately three hours later.

The course begins with a dizzying run down the mountain, an event called the Braveheart Challenge.  From there, it’s on to the Swamp Stomp, where you slosh your way through waist-deep sludge.  It only gets worse from there.  In quick succession, you’ll have to scale a set of 12-foot walls, crawl under barbed-wire just 8 inches off the ground and worm your way through a series of pipes filled with freezing, muddy water.  Having fun yet?

Other highlights include the Death March – a jog straight up one of Whistler’s ski runs; Turd’s Nest – a precarious cargo net strung above yet another muddy bog; Funky Monkey – greased monkey bars suspended above an icy pond; and Fire Walker – a jaunt through blazing, kerosene-soaked straw bales.

Now, the idea behind all this punishment and mayhem is actually to have some fun and build team spirit.  The Tough Mudder is not a competitive race, but a chance for teams to work together to get to the finish line.  And when you do finally finish the course, you’re treated to a cold beer, a live rock band and a refreshing shower from a fire hose.

The minimum age to participate in Tough Mudder is 19.  You can register now for the Whistler events on June 23 and June 24 for $110.  Prices go up as the event gets closer.

Has anyone done a Tough Mudder in the past?  How was it? 

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