It's safe to say that the Tough Mudder running and obstacle course series is exploding. The series has only been around since 2010 and already there are 22 events on the global calendar, including two Canadian stops in Toronto and Vancouver (actually Whistler Olympic Park, but Vancouver is the nearest major city and gets top billing for the event.). In 2013, there will 52 events.
There are other obstacle-course themed races out there — notably the Warrior Dash, which held an event in Whistler in 2011, and the Spartan Race, which is coming to Squamish as the Squamish Super Spartan on September 22. The Tough Mudder is a little different, with slightly longer courses (usually 12 to 16km) and an approach to obstacle design that encourages teamwork. You can enter the race solo, but at some point you're probably going to need help and to provide some assistance to others.
The Tough Mudder at Whistler Olympic Park on June 24 and 25 is 16km long with an estimated completion time of three hours. There are 22 obstacles along the way, two of which are mystery challenges. The other 20:
The Swamp Stomp — mucking your way through a mud bog.
The Berlin Walls — a series of four-metre high walls you'll need teamwork to scale.
The Kiss of Mud — crawling through mud under wire suspended over the ground.
The Boa Constrictor — crawling through pipes filled with cold, muddy water.
The Death March — a steep uphill climb.
The Ball Shirker — a swinging rope bridge suspended over cold water.
Walk the Plank — a five-metre jump from a platform into a pond filled with, you guessed it, freezing water.
The Log Bog Jog — running through a series of logs and branches positioned to slow you down as you go over, under and around.
Log Jamming — similar to the Log Bog Jog, but with bigger logs and a variety of over and under challenges.
The Devil's Beard — crawling your way through a series of suspended cargo nets.
Everest — a slippery quarterpipe that competitors have to get over, running and jumping to reach the wall or working with others.
Hold Your Wood — Working with others to carry a log up a steep slope.
Turds Nest — a suspended cargo net you have to cross.
Berlin Walls#2 — see the Berlin Walls#1.
Kinky Tunnels — crawling through dark, winding tunnels.
Funky Monkey — monkey bars, playground style.
The Hay Bale Pyramid — get over it as fast as you can.
The Arctic Enema — diving into more cold water.
The Cliff Hanger — get up a steep slope.
Fire Walker — run and jump through four-foot high flames to get to the finish.
Despite the obvious difficulty and discomfort, the Tough Mudder has really caught on. Saturday's race is completely sold out with 5,000 participants, and Sunday's event is quickly filling up with 87 per cent of spots sold at press time.
For registration and more information on the event, visit www.toughmudder.com/events/vancouver/.