If you have even an ounce of physical ability, you are probably intrigued by the idea of these new mud runs/obstacle course challenges that are growing in popularity. This article is for those of you who are still on the fence about whether or not you want to give it a try. (If you were sure, you would have done something by now.)
Comparison at a Glance:
|Warrior Dash||Tough Mudder|
|Registration Fee:||Between $40 and $80||Between $90 and $200|
|Included with Registration:||Fuzzy helmet, t-shirt, medal, post race snack, free beer, live music||T-shirt, sweatband, entry to post-party, chance to purchase a Tough Mudder tattoo|
|Charity Information:||While not required, participants are encouraged to use their race participation as an effort to raise money for St. Jude. Rewards to participants for raising money vary by amount received—includes bandana, access to VIP area (with free food, drink, private shower, private bag check), a bag, and headphones.||While not required, participants are encouraged to use their race participation as an effort to raise money for The Wounded Warrior Project. A $25 discount is offered to people who pledge to raise $150.|
However, reading between the lines will tell a very different story. In fact, anyone who has actually competed in both events would tell you it’s like comparing apples and oranges. While similar, the two events draw very different types of competitors.
Who is a Warrior?
A Warrior Dash participant could probably fall into two categories. First, there are the participants who are just not in shape. This type of participant wants something to motivate them to workout more—but just a little bit more. They want to get dirty. They want to wear silly costumes and do something “fun” this weekend. They will go around half the obstacles because all they really care about is being able to say they did it.
The second type of participant is a runner. These participants exercise regularly and enjoy (gasp!) running. They are tired of the typical races that take place on city streets. They will actually care about their course time and compete for the top prizes. They want to try something different—but not that different. After all, runners who are satisfied with traversing the same route day after day with very little variety can’t have all that adventurous of a personality.
How is a Mudder different?
Tough Mudder is a whole different ball game.
The Tough Mudder course was designed by British Special Forces. It was created with the intent to challenge strength, stamina, and mental grit. Their website boasts the following: “Is Tough Mudder dangerous? Challenging? Intense? Tough? Yes, we are all those things and more.” No girly-girls or trim, gazelle-like runners will survive this course. Intense mental and physical training needs to take place before hand.
A Mudder is a unique breed. A Tough Mudder participant has to have the mental and physical stamina to face obstacles like Electroshock Therapy, Fire Walker, and Underwater Tunnels. Meanwhile, the ability to appreciate the Arctic Enema, Ball Shrinker, Greased Lightning, Hold Your Wood and Turd’s Nest is a must.
In addition to the different physical abilities of the let’s-get-dirty crowd (Warriors) and the I’m-going-to-push-my-body-farther-than-it’s-ever-been-pushed-and-then-push-some-more group (Mudders), there is a different mindset between the two athletes, too.
Warrior Dash participants might bring along a friend so they can relive the glorious details together after the race. A Tough Mudder participant brings along a team. A Mudder appreciates camaraderie and makes sure no one gets left behind—a true team player.
Sure, a Mudder will boast about his accomplishment, just like a Warrior. But the triumph is more personal for a Mudder—it was an internal battle that can’t really be put into words. Just look at the way the two organizations entice their competitors to raise support. One offers flashy rewards; one quietly thanks participants for supporting like-minded, team-oriented individuals.
There you have it. Apples and oranges.
Wanna Give it a Try?
Each event has a very informative, interactive site. See if you are a good fit for either obstacle course. If you get goose bumps of anticipate from just looking at the pictures, you’re probably all set to go.
There are millions of YouTube videos and online tutorials that will help you train for whichever event you choose. Follow Abraham Lincoln’s advice: “Whatever you are, be a good one.”
Image from Dreamstime courtesy of the author