Paying for Pain: Mud Races


So far in my life I have ran several 5k’s, 10k’s, 15k’s, 1 half marathon and 2 mud race obstacle courses; Warrior Dash (3 miles) & Tough Mudder (12 mles).

All of these things cost money. Half/Marathons and the mud races all cost ~$100, for an experience of course. Paying for competition. Paying for a challenge. Often times because we need that to push ourselves, for additional motivation. Or because it is a challenge we, ourselves, cannot recreate.

Warrior Dash

Simply put, the Warrior Dash, a 3 mile long obstacle course, is a party. It is something silly for a group of friends to do on a weekend. It is not all that challenging so even if you are not physically fit, you will not have a problem. The obstacles will make you feel like a kid again, climbing in tunnels, through mud, playing with fire and over rope nets.

But some of the obstacles aren’t really. Like walking along the shore in a lake for an eighth of a mile. Sure, it’s tiring, but it is not physically challenging. This “dash” is meant to be fun. Crawling through the mud is fun. Jumping over fire is fun. It is not difficult – all of that is just hype.

As someone who is physically fit, I would not pay $65 again to run this race alone. With a group of friends, maybe, but still it is a pretty high price tag for what comes out to be a 5k with a few speedbumps.

Fun Rating: 8 – good times!
Difficulty Rating: Mental & Physical – 3 – easy peasy
Cost: $$$ – $50-$100

Tough Mudder

The Tough Mudder is a 12 mile long obstacle course. The obstacles are not necessarily physically challenging, however, the course takes a lot of endurance and mental stamina to keep going. You may overcome a fear or two (like jumping off a 15′ platform or crawling through underground tunnels).

Really though, it is just long. If you are physically fit, the “obstacles” will not be a problem for you. But you will get tired. The energy it takes to run 12 miles plus throw your body over an 8′ wall, across a cargo net, on the ground, trudge through muddy water, etc, is a tremendous amount.

Was it fun? Not really. Am I glad I did it? Yes. Did I feel a sense of accomplishment after? Nah. Again, I feel like this would be more significant to a group of friends who aren’t the most physically fit folks and want to do a crazy insane challenge together.

Fun Rating: 2 – hell!
Difficulty Rating: Mental – 8 – overcome your fears; Physical – 5 – easy obstacles, just so many of them
Cost: $$$$ – $100-$126


Can you justify paying for unenjoyable-at-the-time experiences/challenges that you know will be worth it later?


If you have thoughts on this and would like to discuss please use Twitter or send me an email.