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31,000 participate in top 3 obstacle races in February; Tough Mudder shows fortunes can be made from mud runs

5 Mar 2012

Nearly 31,000 (30,852 exact total) participated in the top 3 obstacle races in February. Combined with the 33,000 that took part in January, the year-to-date (YTD) participation total has reached 64,000.

Tough Mudder: est. 14,800
Tough Mudder – GA: 6,800
Tough Mudder – SoCal: est. 8,000

Warrior Dash: 9,167

Spartan Race: 6,885
Super Spartan – AZ: 2,412
Super Spartan – FL: 4,473

March Events
Spartan Sprint – Conyers, GA: March 10
Warrior Dash – East Texas: March 17
Metro Dash – Atlanta, GA: March 17
Rugged Maniac – Charleston, SC: March 24
Warrior Dash – Hawaii: March 24
Spartan Sprint – Charlotte, NC: March 24 & 25
Warrior Dash – North Florida: March 31
Warrior Dash – SoCal: March 31
Tough Mudder – Dallas, TX: March 31 & April 1
Tough Mudder – Melbourne, Australia: March 31 & April 1

For a list of other obstacle races that may be holding an event near you, see this directory.


As can be expected, obstacle races are continuing to attract fans and followers. The Spartan Race surpassed the Warrior Dash in number of total popularity points (Facebook fans + Twitter followers).

Below are popularity points as of Sunday, March 4. Since January 30, the Tough Mudder increased the FB fan-base by 300,000. The Spartan Race nearly tripled the number of of new Warrior Dash fans with more than 75,000 new likes in comparison with WD’s 27,000.

From August 1st last year through March 5, 2012, Tough Mudder increased their number of fans from 884, 488 to 1.9 million. Over the same span, Spartan Race grew from 453,218 to 836, 339.

Tough Mudder
FB Fans: 1,947,385 (+303,254)
Twitter Followers: 33,055 (+5,358)

Spartan Race
FB Fans: 836,339 (+75,537)
Twitter Followers: 29,422 (8,785)

Warrior Dash
FB Fans: 793,623 (+27,733)
Twitter Followers: 21,054 (+1,944)




Run for Your Lives
FB Fans: 134,191 (+36,358)
Twitter Followers: 7,279 (+1,537)

Rugged Maniac
FB Fans: 111,679 (+14,711)
Twitter Followers: 857 (+145)

Metro Dash
FB Fans: 75,656
Twitter Followers: 644

Hero Rush 
FB Fans: 42,508
Twitter Followers: 950

Dirty Girl
FB Fans: 31,149
Twitter Followers: 1,208




News Highlights
This month’s news highlights the sport’s State of the Union, thanks to obstacleracers.com, and how the Tough Mudder brand is showing that millions can still be made in spite of limited leveraging options.

You’ll also see upcoming firsts for the top obstacle race brands: The Warrior Dash makes its debut in Iowa and Nebraska, the Tough Mudder in Australia. The Spartan Race provides a reality check for one participant’s fitness level and one firefighter preps for the Death Race in June.

Lastly, you’ll see tips for taking your workout outdoors and how to make sure yoga is helping you prepare for your race.

Obstacle Course Racing – State of the Union
Any doubters of the “Obstacle Racing Boom” should turn their attention to the sheer growth of some of the most popular obstacle races in effect. Red Frog Events, who hosts the Warrior Dash race series, points out that they have grown from 1,194 racers in 2007 to 150,000 in 2010, with a projected 70,000 for the 2011 race season. Red Frog hosted 33 Warrior Dash races in 2011 alone, and are scheduled to host 65 races in 2012. The Outdoor Industry Association confirms this growth, reporting an 85% increase in “extreme” event participation from 2006 to 2010. Spartan Race hosted 27 races in 2011 and are scheduled to host at least 37 in 2012 while Tough Mudder participation is projected to increase from an impressive 50,000 in 2010 to a mind-blowing 500,000 in 2012!

Even in a world of deleveraging there are still fortunes to be made
This is what I meant by innovation and creativity finding pockets of wealth. Will Dean [Tough Mudder founder] saw a niche in the fitness industry (an event that was more challenging and less monotonous than traditional marathons and other fitness tests). He then moved to capitalize on that niche with minimal risk by keeping his start-up costs to a minimum. And today he’s sitting atop a $20 million business with numerous corporate sponsors.

20,000 expected for inaugural Tough Mudder in Australia
The first Tough Mudder in Australia will be held at Phillip Island on March 31 and April 1 – fittingly, April Fool’s Day. Entrants will scale 3m-high walls, crawl through mud under wire, run through diesel-soaked straw and 1.2m flames and navigate through live wires carrying 10,000-volt shocks.

Hero Rush obstacle race honors 9/11 victims
On June 2, Hero Rush will come to Marshall, Mich. and have a 5k obstacle race at Calhoun County Fairgrounds to encourage participants to experience the challenges fire fighters go through in a real emergency situation. “Obstacles have included maneuvering through actual fire, beating down heavy door frames, climbing a platform and sliding down an 8-foot pole, climbing up a ladder, going through a window and grabbing something from a room, and having spectators aim fire hoses at runners in the event,” said Diane Giles, Hero Dash marketing director...Money will be contributed to local charities and the “343 Wave” to honor the firefighters killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Spartan Death Race Profile: West Hartford firefighter Troy Shipley
After taking on three Tough Mudders and the World’s Toughest Mudder, Troy Shipley is preparing for the ultimate test: the Spartan Death Race. Shipley first tested a mudder race at the Tough Mudder in Englishtown, New Jersey. He joined several friends, family and brother firefighters who finished the 13 mile course and conquered all the obstacles. “I had a blast and immediately became hooked on the mix of mud, strength, endurance and stupidity,” said Troy Shipley.

Warrior Dash makes debut in Nebraska and Iowa this year
An extreme sporting event that’s popular in America’s big cities will come to Nebraska and Iowa for the first time this summer… The Warrior Dash is a five-K running race with about a dozen obstacles through with participants navigate. That includes leaping over pits of fire, climbing vertical walls and crawling through a field of mud over which barbed wire is strung.

Spartan Race gives reality check to one participant’s perceived fitness level
I would consider myself to be in decent shape – I run a couple times each week and go on the occasional South Mountain hike, but on Saturday I watched as nearly 2,000 people showed me up and put my workout to shame…If I could redo my New Year’s resolution (or maybe three or four years running) it would be to do one of the increasingly popular obstacle course, mud runs and not totally embarrass myself.

A college kinesiology and dance department promotes a second annual mud run
[San Antonio College’s] kinesiology and dance department is promoting the second annual Athlete’s Foot Muddy Mayhem benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project…This year, the Muddy Mayhem is stretching its route from 5 to 8 kilometers of road running, cross country, mud climbs, mud crawl, mud pits and larger obstacles. Kinesiology professors are presenting the Muddy Mayhem and similar obstacle training events to their students as an exhilarating alternative to get them in the fitness groove and to improve endurance as well as physical conditions.

Transitioning from indoor to outdoor exercise
This is a helpful article for mud runners training in colder climates preparing to take their workout outdoors.

Quick tips:
1. Start slowly – go back to 50% the work capacity of where you finished in the fall. Increase workload by no more than 10% per week.
2. Comfort is key – wear comfortable apparel and footwear.
3. Warm-up.
4. Understand the elements.
5. Cross-train.
6. Take time off each week.

The debate on Yoga
Can yoga hurt more than help you? There’s been an ongoing debate spurred on by a New York Times article claiming that yoga can do more damage than good for the body. The verdict: start off slow, begin with private instruction or small classes from a qualified instructor, get used to gentle yoga before trying more rigorous forms, and listen to your body…When done properly, the long-term benefits of yoga can carry over to many sports, including obstacle race training.



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