Obstacle races are running events in which participants climb over, tunnel under, slither through and ultimately conquer physical challenges strategically placed along the race route. Events vary in race route distance, obstacle difficulty and degrees of messiness! The events are designed to test both physical ability and mental determination. Many support charitable organizations, donating proceeds from race registrations, and most focus on completing the challenge, rather than competing. Teamwork is encouraged; having fun is a requirement! Whether you are a fierce competitor, aiming for a physically challenging race, or an occasional exerciser seeking to accomplish a “bucket-list” task, there is an obstacle race for you!
The majority of races are mud runs that include inflatable elements and/or military training-inspired obstacles. A 5k run generally hosts between 12-15 obstacles, whereas a 6 to 12 mile races boast 20 to 25 challenges. Inflatable races are fun runs that include a variety of bouncy challenges such as climbing 2.5 story high slides, dodging super-sized swinging balls, and running through super springy mazes. Add water to the inflatable event and you have a WIPEOUTRUN. Regardless of the style of race, the format is designed to be challenging, fun and promote camaraderie.
Tips for the serious athlete
- Choose races that offer timed heats such as the Down and Dirty, Savage Race and Warrior Dash
- Train for the race: run, strength train, practice interval drills, improve balance and agility. Some events offer training programs on their websites, such as Muderella and Tough Mudder
- Wear moisture-wicking fitted clothes
Tips for the the young-at-heart crowd
- Create a team of friends, family, colleagues; the more the merrier!
- Register for one of the earlier heats to avoid back-ups at obstacles
- Wear a team costume and proudly proclaim your team name
- Be prepared to mug for camera shots! Even better, wear a go-pro or carry a waterproof camera to capture your teammates wiping out!
Tips for post-race
- Pack a towel, dry clothes, slip-on shoes for a quick change in the dressing room tents; bear in mind that these tents are crowded, extremely hot and void of benches and chairs
- Women should consider changing into a simple sundress and flip flops, since pulling on fitted shorts or pants over damp and dirty skin is an additional obstacle for the day!
- Plastic grocery bags are perfect for storing dirty, wet clothes and muddy shoes
- Some mud runs collect muddy sneakers, which are later cleaned and donated to those in need
- Outdoor rinse stations (aka hoses spewing freezing cold water) are available after mud runs to remove the visible chunks of muck
- Use baby wipes in the privacy of the changing tent to remove additional dirt