Tough Mudder Comes to the Lower Mainland

Photo credit: eaghra | Flickr

Photo credit: eaghra | Flickr

Does the idea of plunging into ice water, getting jolted with 10,000 volts of electricity and running through fire sound fun to you?

Then you may be in luck.  Tough Mudder, billed as the world’s most grueling obstacle course, is returning to Whistler this June 22-June 23.  The 10-12 mile course features challenges specially designed by the British Special Forces to test mental and physical strength.

Unlike a marathon or road race, Tough Mudder is not a timed event.  The goal is simply to finish (which only 78 percent of entrants actually do). Many participants describe it as the hardest thing they’ve ever done.

Founded in 2010 (ironically, by a Harvard MBA grad who conceived of the idea in a business plan competition), Tough Mudder attracted some 500,000 participants in 35 events held around the world in 2012.  Last year’s inaugural Whistler challenge drew 15,000 weekend warriors for a day of endurance and heartbreak.

Typical obstacles play off primal fears of fire, water and heights. Many are impossible to complete alone, making teamwork critical.

Staples include the so-called Arctic Enema, in which partipants must plunge into a dumpster of ice water, then haul themselves out the other side.  Also popular is the Funky Monkey, an adult version of monkey bars slicked with grease and suspended over a pit of icy, muddy water.

And no event would be complete without the cheekily named Electroshock Therapy, in which participants must sprint through a gauntlet of live electrical wires.

True to Tough Mudder’s rough-and-ready ethos, participants are rewarded not with medals but with ice cold Dos Equis beers, served at the finish line.

The Whistler course will feature 20-25 cruel and inventive obstacles and require roughly three-four hours to complete.  Organizers are expecting up to 20,000 participants to turn out over the June 22-June 23 weekend.

All this torture doesn’t come cheap, of course.  Tickets range from $90-$200, depending on how early participants register.

Has anyone done the Tough Mudder before? What’s it like? 

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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