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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Elizabeth Street

COULD A TOUGH MUDDER EVENT BE YOUR NEXT GREAT DATE?

Feb 10, 2014

Could a Tough Mudder Event Be Your Next Great Date?

While a standard gym membership is unlikely to go out of style anytime soon, we are far more excited about some other fitness phenomena that are going on around the country--CrossFit, SoulCycle, marathon racing, and now Tough Mudder.

The name itself is bold, masculine even, but what's it all about, and is it for us women? For starters, Tough Mudder is a hardcore, ten mile obstacle course series that put on more than 50 events in five countries in 2013. It is not a ten mile race, mind you. It is, the official site states, "an adventure challenge...designed to test your all-around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie."

A recent in-depth article in The New Yorker described some pretty gritty circumstances; no wonder the majority of participants are males in their twenties and thirties. 

Sure enough, Carol Kruse, the company's Global Chief Marketing Officer, confirmed that just approximately 25 percent of the participants are female, but that the Tough Mudder events, which vary depending on location and terrain, are "not about gender or age." With the addition of Mudderella (more on that later), the company's female participation is almost guaranteed to increase substantially. Furthermore, a rock hard body is not a requirement for entry.

While some physical adeptness is obviously useful, so much of accomplishing the course is about one's "mental mindset." The company, Kruse said, understands that "life is a bit of a rat race," and participating in a Mudder event is "not about trying to beat the person next to you." Rather, it's about camaraderie and helping each other out. If there were rewards given for placing at the finish, there would likely be a whole lot less helping hands, like hoisting someone over a tall wall or offering encouraging words of support to a team member who plunges into a cold pool of ice water. 

Given that this team spirit aspect is an enormous part of participation (some obstacles can literally not be overcome without another's assistance), it makes sense that most people choose to do an event with others. Birthdays, bachelor parties and anniversaries all draw eager and brave groups of friends and family. 

Husbands and wives frequently participate as a team. Talk about date night outside the box! "It's infectious," Kruse states, noting that if one person in a couple has completed a Tough Mudder course, he or she is likely to want to introduce it to and share it with his or her partner. Sure, but ten to twelve miles involving plank walking, swimming through mud and crawling through confined spaces?
Sounds intense. This is not your typical calorie-burning workout, although the average course takes approximately 3.5 hours from start to finish and burns significantly more than 1,000 calories.

More recently, Tough Mudder introduced a slightly more tame event called Mudderella. As you might have guessed, based on the name alone, these courses are geared more toward women and consist of less mileage than the traditional obstacle challenges, which is not to suggest that they are easy. Men can participate and are encouraged to do so, but they don't stand a chance of being team captain. That's left to the ladies. Ready to ditch the dinner-and-a-movie yet? Facing your various fears, only together via a Tough Mudder event, is bound to bring you closer--through mud baths and all. Plus, just think of the stories you'll have to tell your proud kids!

For a peek at what's in store should you decide to register as a couple, check out this YouTube video below:

 

By Stacey Gawronski

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