The Telegraph - 29th March 2012
It is a clear but freezing day in New Jersey, just outside New York, and my husband, five of his friends from London and about 500 other pumped-up men and women are running behind a 12ft monster truck, waving their hands and shouting “Hoo Rah!” as Queen’s We Will Rock You blasts out from some nearby speakers.
Over the next four hours, they will complete a 12-mile mud run, punctuated with 32 military-style obstacles. They will fight through fire, plunge into icy water, scale 12ft walls, crawl through underground tunnels and under dangling wires charged with 10,000 volts of electricity. Untimed and with no winners, at the end of the event, they will be handed a free beer, a Day-Glo orange headband, a T-shirt – and the right to call themselves a “Tough Mudder”. I shall be waving them on from the sidelines.
This May, Tough Mudder launches in the UK with three events and Help for Heroes as its official charity partner. Conceived by Will Dean, from Yorkshire, while at Harvard Business School, Tough Mudder offers an alternative physical challenge to “boring” endurance events such as marathons. Harvard professors told him that the idea “lacked mass appeal” but, since its launch in America in 2010 with three events, more than 200,000 people have taken part. This year more than 30 Tough Mudder contests are taking place in Britain, Australia, America and Canada.
Tough Mudder is entirely driven by social media, and aims to be sociable, ethical and friendly. Co-founder Guy Livingstone, an ex-lawyer who met Will Dean at Oundle School in Northamptonshire, has been surprised by the level of the uptake, but believes team-related activities are coming back into fashion.
“We’re seeing a growing movement towards other challenges, such as Tough Mudder, where you can have huge amounts of fun being part of a team,” Livingstone says.
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