If you've done every 5k,10k, half marathon going and fancy a challenge, something to test not only your physical ability but your mental stamina too, then take a look at Tough Mudder. Forget your clean streets and being crammed into pens before a race, at Tough Mudder you'll be thrown into the countryside headfirst. After a hilarious warm-up get ready to get down on your knees and take the Tough Mudder oath. Then before you know it you'll be racing through the countryside jumping over hay bales, throwing your friends over giant wooden structures, crawling under barbed wire and wading through mud, lots of mud and that's before you get to the ice-baths, monkey bars and electro shock therapy. Do you want to know what the craziest part is? You'll love every second!
On Saturday I took part in my first ever Tough Mudder and it was incredible. Don't get me wrong, the day after I did feel a little bit delicate like I had been in a car crash and I am now covered head to toe in bruises but it was worth it. It's such a great way to hang out with your friends and exercise in a fun way rather than pounding on a treadmill. I have a sneaky feeling that things are going to change on the fitness scene and that Tough Mudder could be the future of fitness.
Is it really that tough?
In short yes it’s pretty tough but no way near as hard as I had imagined. I was really nervous. Although I knew I could run the distance (Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile route) it also has 20 obstacles thrown in. 20 obstacles which are designed to test everything you've got. I wasn't nervous about tackling the mud or the water or even the electrocution obstacle but I was nervous about the monkey bars and the swing over water (King of the Swingers) Those obstacles scared me because I didn't want to look stupid. I knew that these obstacles would be the parts where you put yourself out there in front of everyone and everyone would see me fall in the water if I messed up. However, out on the course the weirdest thing happens. Instead of feeling self-conscious and insecure I began to feel braver and with each obstacle more and more confident and because everyone is covered in mud and soaked through, all of a sudden you are stripped of the usual fears surrounding fitness - will I look fat doing this, will my arms/tummy/legs wobble, am I wearing the latest fashionable leggings? - everyone looks the same covered in the mud and it means that you get to have real raw fun.
Is it too tough?
No, it's not. You'll need to have a basic level of fitness to be able to do it and I would highly recommend training in advance so that you can enjoy it. Whilst there are a lot of obstacles there is some gorgeous woodland running in between and if you don't feel comfortable running for 10 minutes continuously it would detract from the day. So, although it is a challenge it isn't impossible. The best bit about it is there are thousands of people out there on the course helping each other out. At each obstacle you meet new people and they help you and you help them. The comradery in the event is an incredible feeling that you don't find in your average race.
Is it worth the money?
Yes. The experience is unparalleled with most running events on the market. It's a big course and all of the obstacles are varied so you get a lot of challenges for your money. When you consider that a lot of race fees are now £30-£50+ and that's just for running around the streets which you can do any time, it's a good deal. Plus you get a free beer at the end! If you enter today then your entry fee is £59/£69 the closer you wait until the event the price creeps up to over £100 so it's well worth getting in early and committing.
How muddy is it?
Very! You definitely can't get round without getting muddy. From the beginning I threw myself into the mud and got stuck in. Two obstacles later and I was in a tub of freezing ice and washed clean. In terms of kit I saw a lot of people running in old trainers or not running trainers which probably wasn't very comfy. I was very lucky to be running in a pair of Merrell trainers which had been specifically designed for the event. I didn't think they would make that much difference but I saw a lot of people sliding about in the mud and somehow mine gripped fine. I was actually a bit sad at the start because I liked them so much and didn't want them to get ruined. However, a good wash in the sink when I got home and they're good as new, ready for next year!
This post was in collaboration with Merrell, a brand which I love and regularly wear. I am incredibly proud that they invited me to join their team at Tough Mudder and that they gave me a pair of shoes to help me perform in the mud! The content and the context of this post is my own work, contains my own views and has not been pre-read or edited. However, when they read this they asked me to remind you that Merrell is the Global presenting partner for Tough Mudder. For more information check out their website www.merrell.co.uk