The Recipe to Get More People Exercising? Add Mud.

control messages Aug 01, 2011

 Two weekends ago I participated in an event called the Warrior Dash...."a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell. This fierce running series is held on the most challenging and rugged terrain across the globe. Warriors conquer extreme obstacles, push their limits and celebrate with kick-ass music, beer and warrior helmets."

They had me at mud and fire.

This was the most fun running event I have ever participated in. And from the turn-out, 24,000 other people felt the same. That's right: 24,000 participants at this location alone. It was a great mix of people and I would estimate 50% of the people signed up were not regular hard core exercisers.  They were there to have fun.


Potentially 12,000 people who most likely don't work out on a regular basis came out, ran over 3 miles up and down the steep hills of a ski resort, got over, under, and through 12 obstacles, and had a blast doing it.  The event itself was extremely well marketed and is being held in 33 locations across the US total this year. That's potentially 792,000 people exercising.

We all see the recommendations to get more exercise, but most people don't.  Why?  For some people it's seen as something boring and painful - a punishment.  Of the people I saw at this event, not a single one of them looked like they were being punished.  In fact, everyone had a huge smile on their face.  Especially me.

The final "event" was standing in front of a fire hose to get washed off.  Thanks....I think.

The world needs more events like this: opportunities for people to have fun while moving their bodies.  I got online to find out if there were more events like this, and I found a several that are done on a nation-wide level.  I'd love to learn of more, so if you know of any I've missed, please leave a comment!

The Great Urban Race. The Great Urban Race is a wild urban adventure. Teams solve twelve clues and complete exciting mental and physical challenges while discovering the city in a fresh way.

Beach Palooza.  Beach Palooza is a gnarly running event held on sandy shores where paloozers get their feet wet while tackling radical obstacles.

Muddy Buddy.  Muddy Buddy is all about having fun with a friend, family member, partner or co-worker! Teams of two traverse a 6-7 mile off-road course and 5 obstacles.  At the start of the race, one team member will run and one will ride the bike. At the 1st obstacle, the rider will drop the bike, complete the obstacle, and begin running. The runner will arrive, complete the obstacle, find their bike and begin riding. Teams will continue leapfrogging each other through the entire course.  At the end of the race, racers crawl through the infamous Mud Pit crossing the finish line together as official “Muddy Buddies”.

Spartan Race. Spartan Race™ was designed by seven insane ultra athletes and a Royal Marine. If you have tried trail races, mud runs, tough guy fun runs, or a warrior dash, it's time to step up to a brutal Spartan Race obstacle course. You can tackle a Spartan Sprint, a Super Spartan, maybe even attempt a brutal Spartan Beast, but only a few of you will have the heart to graduate up to our Death Race; the world championship of obstacle racing, and an endurance race like NO other. Are you unbreakable?

Tough Mudder.  Tough Mudder is not your average mud run or spirit-crushing ‘endurance’ road race. Our 10-12 mile obstacle courses are designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Forget finish times. Simply completing a Tough Mudder is a badge of honor. Tough Mudder has raised over one million dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Metro Dash. Have you ever wondered how far you could push yourself? We do everyday. So, we combined 30 elements into one insane obstacle course that will surely push your physical and mental limits. Whether you're competing to win or just for fun, Metro Dash will unleash the best in you.  Metro Dash is a sprint. Slow and steady will get you no where on our course. At Metro Dash if you aren't pushing yourself as hard as you possibly can while striving to get the fastest time, you're only cheating yourself.  The Metro Dash course is set up in an area the size of an NFL football field. Competitors will sprint a total of about 600 meters while climbing, crawling, jumping, swinging, and scaling their way through 30 challenging obstacles. The fastest time wins.

Okay.....some of these look pretty intense and may not sound like "fun", but you've got some options if you want to get crazy with it.  What's your experience?

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