Obstacle races used to just be the things of kids sports days. Now they are a way of testing your mettle against other racers.
Events such as Tough Mudder and Spartan Race offer the chance to take part in a race unlike any other. The ‘courses’ are a set length, dependant on the race, and they are often located in rural areas or army bases. They are comprised of various gruelling obstacles that split up the running in challenging ways.
The obstacles are usually bodyweight based, such as; rope climbing, wall scaling and other things that wear you out a lot quicker than you’d think! There is also plenty of mud to struggle through as well, making the strain on the quads even greater.
The one thing that they all have in common is that they are a lot of fun. They offer a great way for a bunch of friends to have a different kind of outing, one that focuses on strength, stamina and good amount of camaraderie.
As for the physical benefits, it is a lot different from running on treadmills and working out on strength equipment. It is much more dynamic, using a mixture of stamina and strength to keep pushing your muscles right to the very end. The only rest is if there is a queue at one of the obstacles, but even that won’t be enough respite from the harsh conditions.
The events usually vary in lengths and difficulties. Tough Mudder has a lot more cardio based sections, some sections of about 3 miles of pure trail running. Whereas events such as the Spartan Sprint are only 3 miles in total, but within that there are 15+ obstacles so it feels a lot longer by the end.
The group atmosphere at all of these events is one of the main attractions. People helping people over the obstacles and waiting for mates is all common practice at these events. With several heats in a day and only a few of them containing people who are seriously competing for a top spot.
Overall, these events are a great way of getting in the outdoors and challenging yourself to do something different. It is something good to train for, as it forces you out of your comfort zone, and gets you training in different ways. This is beneficial for keeping the body refreshed and keeping gym routines exciting.
In conclusion, if you need a new challenge or need something for a group of friends to do, then these events can offer all of this and more. With limited spaces and only a few UK dates a year, it is also something to look forward to in the year, and it will create stories and memories that will last until the next one!
Alex Wright is a fitness journalist working with Health Clubs at Home; Europe’s leading suppliers of Gym Equipment for Sale