Paying for Pain: Mud Races

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?


4 Replies to “Paying for Pain: Mud Races”

  1. I’ve been in a few “unenjoyable-at-the-time” races and decided they are not worth the money. Still, I keep signing up for them because I have a hard time saying no to friends. Ragnar ( was not particularly physically challenging, but was not fun because of lack of sleep and having to spend a weekend with 7 people in a van. Not worth $200+. I also did a half marathon in 90F heat and they ran out of water. I thought about running home around mile 6 because I was miserable but decided to finish the race. My reward was all night throwing up from dehydration. Also not worth it. I’d like to do Tough Mudder, but would probably only sign up if I had a free bib.

  2. I didn’t realize these races cost so much money. They do seem like a pretty interesting experience, but I have a feeling I’m too out of shape for even the 3 mile race. Maybe I just miss the fun of being a kid.

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