Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Savage Race, and Rugged Maniac– one gets an idea what they’re getting into just from the names of these obstacle course races. Which obstacle course race is best for you depends on who you are, but whichever it is, it’s going to be intense.
Needless to say, the harder the course, the better. From mud pits, to rock walls, cargo net climbs, monkey bars and anything other sadistic obstacle race organizers can dream up, the more extreme the better.
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Obstacle Racing means different things to different people, but the one thing all obstacle course races have in common is intensity. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact start of obstacle racing- people have been running since they first emerged from the trees, but many consider the Stadion to be the first competitive obstacle race. The Stadion or Stade race was the very first Olympic event in ancient Greece, held in honor of the god Zeus. As with all ancient Olympic events it was held nude, and the winner of the event had the games named in his honor. Thankfully, clothing is required at modern obstacle races, the first of which some obstacle race scholars mark as the Tough Guy race which started in 1987.
Typical obstacles in an obstacle race include barbed wire, electrical wires, walls, and of course, mud. Each brand of obstacle race has its own character, with different terrain, distances, and obstacles to take on. Perhaps the most famous of modern day obstacle course races, Tough Mudder, consists of more than 20 obstacles over a distance of 10 to 12 miles. Because of its length, a Tough Mudder is often a several hour affair. It’s not a formal race, so teamwork and cooperation is encouraged. Bring some friends, because misery loves company. The Spartan Race is Tough Mudder’s angry cousin- at up to 13 miles with 30-35 obstacles, you better be at your physical peak for this one. Teamwork is not encouraged in the Spartan Race- it’s every man and woman for themselves out there. Rugged Maniac has its start on ABC’s Shark Tank, and offers perhaps the most creative obstacles of all. Along with its more sprint-heavy brother the Warrior Dash, it’s shorter at only 5k (3.1 miles), but features tons of obstacles in that space, making it perfect for the entry level masochist just getting into obstacle running. No matter your flavor, there’s always a trench to climb through, flames to jump over, and mud to splash into in the world of obstacle racing, mud running and endurance race marathons.
From Savage Race to Zombie Mud Runs, there are so many more obstacle courses out there waiting to be conquered. It’s clear that obstacle racing’s popularity is on the rise- USA Today estimates that in 2015 4.5 million Americans took part in an obstacle race of some sort. If that many people can do it, why haven’t you given it a try yet? Scared? Find it, book it and run for your life with Rad Season.