Unfortunately I was unable to be part of the very first New Zealand “Tough Mudder” event, but with so much amazing feedback from friends and training clients who completed the event, I just had to do a least a small article on this incredibly challenging event.
Here is what some of Fairfax NZ news reported:
Competitors hurl themselves into skips full of ice water. Crawl through muddy tunnels. Run through dangling wires carrying 10,000 volts of electricity.
Tough Mudder, a 20-kilometre extreme race now held in 53 locations worldwide, isn’t the first such event to be held in New Zealand – races like the O-Rock launched last year – but when it comes to Hampton Downs race track, between Hamilton and Auckland, next Anzac weekend, it will signal the arrival here of the industry’s biggest player.
There’s no finish line clock, and many people enter as teams, or form ad-hoc alliances en route to scramble over the obstacles.
“You can take two hours, and you get an orange headband, a T-shirt, and a cold can of beer,” says Drew Ward, Tough Mudder’s Asia-Pacific boss. “You can take five hours . . . and you get an orange headband, a T-shirt, and a cold can of beer.”
So the point is?
Ward the (inventer of Tough Mudder) says seeing Tough Mudder competitors helping each other over obstacles has made him more optimistic for the human condition. “You see people just helping each other out, and simply because they can . . . it makes you feel good about human nature at its best.”
Seasoned Kiwi events organiser Aaron Carter, whose company Total Sport runs off-road trail run and mountain bike events, says Tough Mudder-style events draw a different demographic to his semi-serious weekend warriors and family crowd. ” We’re not a dress-up in a fairy costume kind of brand – and that’s not jealousy, that’s assessing the market,” he says. “I reckon if you surveyed them [Tough Mudder entrants], a good chunk would be doing their first-ever event, or it would be the only event they do all year. It’s got that ‘let’s get a bunch of mates together, and give this thing a nudge then get on the piss’ feel.
“Initially, I thought it would be a flash in the pan. Now I think they will become a regular feature, but do we feel threatened by them? No.”
The appeal, he feels, is this: “Over the last two decades, there has become a lack of places and ways to show toughness . . . and you get to roll around in mud. When did you last get the chance to do that?”
– © Fairfax NZ News