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Tough Mudder
May 1, 2010 12:56 PM   Subscribe

New York Times article: A year ago, Tough Mudder was a semifinalist in the Harvard Business School’s annual Business Plan Contest. A British student named Will Dean thought he could attract 500 people to run a grueling race through mud and man-made obstacles. . . . But on Sunday [May 2, 2010], the Brooklyn-based Tough Mudder will conduct a race for 4,500 people. Each has paid up to $100 for the privilege of negotiating a seven-mile obstacle course of muddy hills, cold water and flaming bales of straw at a ski resort near Allentown, Pa.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
$100 is actually a pretty good deal for this sort of thing. Round-trip tickets from New York to Detroit are generally around twice that.
posted by koeselitz at 1:14 PM on May 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Entry Fee Includes: Event T-Shirt, Tough Mudder Headbands, Live Music and Free Beer at Post Race Party

Um, entry fees start at $100 and go up from there based on the time when one signs up. That beer is in no way free.
posted by djduckie at 1:20 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is no prize money, and contestants are not timed.

That is awesome, and is what makes this sound much more interesting to me than the myriad others of its ilk.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 1:26 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the "free beer" is usually interpretted as "I get to do this cool thing, get a t-shirt that proves to other people I did it, and get to get drunk afterwards". Depending on where you drink 100 bones might very well be the bar tab for a weekend anyway.
posted by codacorolla at 1:34 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Round-trip tickets from New York to Detroit are generally around twice that.

Hah! You think they'll get out alive.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:36 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Er, isn't this just a copycat of the Tough Guy challenge, which isn't the product of a genius from B-school, but has been running nearly 25 years in the UK?

Pictures of the 2009 event here. There's tough, tougher, toughest, and then... there's the guy in picture 14.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:37 PM on May 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


Tough Guy Challenge.
posted by kenko at 1:52 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think all such events get really interesting, and appealing, insofar as they implicitly represent triumph over something in the wider world that threatens us and which we generally have trouble facing directly, such as the way the ancient Greek Olympics abstracted and glorified the skills of war.

This one seems nicely positioned for that.

Tough Mudder = Tough Mother, clearly, but whose Mother might we be talking about?

Why, Mother of us all. of course, Mother Earth! About to get a lot tougher because of climate change, resource exhaustion, emerging infectious diseases, overpopulation and ethnic conflicts, etcetera.

The mud hazards could represent the coming floods from extreme storms due to global warming, the flaming bales of straw the coming forest fires; maybe they could have competing color identified teams for the ethnic strife, and some floating blocks of ice you had to get past to stand in for the changes in polar regions.
posted by jamjam at 2:06 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Er, isn't this just a copycat of the...

Watch American teevee much?
posted by jsavimbi at 2:10 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow...the brilliance at the Harvard B-School. Pretty soon they're going to invent the Beatles.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:24 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Will's girlfriend was in my class at HLS. He seems like a cool guy.
posted by grobstein at 3:40 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"There's tough, tougher, toughest, and then... there's the guy in picture 14."

Top comment when I got to them...

"In answer to the question 'why?' I can only answer for myself [I feature in photo 14 and this was my 6th winter TG]....its one day a year to get back to taking risks [and taking responsibility for those risks], facing up to some of my fears, and pushing myself physically and mentally beyond that required for the other 364 days of the year. I have never seen photos which present the event as well as these do. The cold, the pain; but most of all the laughs all the way round! They are excellent!

Posted by MG February 3, 09 04:58 PM"
posted by wah at 4:04 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Laughing so hard at photo 14. I referenced the wrong photo in my previous comment - I am in No. 13 not 14 - that guy is a nut case!
Posted by mg February 3, 09 05:06 PM

posted by stavrogin at 4:47 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


(He points out he's actually the guy in photo 13 in the next post.)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:51 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because something exists in one country, it's a bad idea for people in another country to try it, especially if it's for fun.
posted by amethysts at 5:29 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Back to the beer thing though, is slogging through this and then getting drunk really the best idea? I think you would slog through this and want about 500 grams of protien and a nap.
posted by djduckie at 6:29 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the adult, extreme-sports equivalent of what myself and my brother used to do when we were kids, playing in the ravine beside our house. It sounds like fun, and in the spirit of non-competitive play, albeit grueling, and if I was in shape for it I'd totally do it.
posted by jokeefe at 6:43 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Back to the beer thing though, is slogging through this and then getting drunk really the best idea? I think you would slog through this and want about 500 grams of protien and a nap.

I take it you've never played rugby.
posted by drpynchon at 7:09 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, the article mentions that this is not an original idea, in the 6th graf:
The idea, imported largely from similar events in Britain (like the Grim Challenge) and Germany (the Strongman Run), is to stage events more convivial than marathons and triathlons, but more grueling than shorter runs or novelty events, some of which also have a mud-covered theme.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:01 PM on May 1, 2010


Sounds like a nice moneymaker for the race promoter. No timing, donated beer...
posted by fixedgear at 4:41 AM on May 2, 2010


Yeah, this is pretty cool. Shame on those of you hating this because there are similar events elsewhere, or the guy went to Harvard B-school.

The whole point was to bring an event like Tough Guy to the US. That was the point! He did a great job of identifying an event that people would enjoy, finding a location, and promoting it.

Hey you know what? Michelangelo's David? Not the first big naked statue guy, right? Still a pretty fucking good statue though. Jesus Christ.
posted by Mister_A at 6:34 AM on May 2, 2010


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