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Obstacle Race News: The Good & The Bad

10 Aug 2012

The past couple of weeks for obstacle races have featured some good and bad news.

First, the good news: my pick is the impact of the Warrior Dash on the Genesee Township economy in Michigan. In 2011, roughly 25,000 attended the event, but this year, nearly 75,000 took part, including runners, spectators, and workers. An estimated $7-$8 million was infused into the Flint/Genesee regional economy.

It’s always good to read about new obstacle races, especially when they attract a following. Pretty Muddy, a new women-only adventure run, will host its inaugural race in September. The Mud Ninja Extreme Challenge challenged 2,900 participants in its first event.

As for the bad news, three cases of E.coli infection was found among participants in the UK/Scotland Tough Mudder. They are being treated and are hopefully on their way to recovery. Mud Wars, a new mud run based in Chicago, received criticism for inadequately planning their first event.

For more on the good, the bad, and other highlights, you can keep reading news excerpts below.

Popularity for Warrior Dash soars in second year at Genesee Township location (Mlive.com)
As the race concluded its second running in Michigan and at the E.A. Cummings Center location, popularity for the event surpassed last year’s turnout of nearly 25,000. Both days sold out once again, with room to spare, and an enhanced festival area brought even more spectators and volunteers to the event. This year’s race brought upwards of 75,000 people to Genesee County, including runners, spectators, volunteers and workers, according to the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission. While the exact financial impact of this year’s event is not yet known, Cheryl DeFrain, director of the Flint/Genesee Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, told MLive.com the event had between a $7 million and $8 million economic impact on the county last year…In fact, the 2012 Warrior Dash was so popular and filled up so quickly that Red Frog Events, which operates the Warrior Dash, scheduled an additional race in Grand Rapids for this summer.

E.Coli cases after Tough Mudder endurance race (BBC)
Three cases of the E. coli O157 infection have been found among people who took part in a physical endurance challenge in Dumfriesshire last month. The trio developed symptoms in the days following the Tough Mudder event, which attracted almost 6,000 competitors to Drumlanrig Castle on 14 and 15 July. Many of the assault course-style obstacles on the 12-mile run involved immersion in, or contact with, mud.

First Mud Ninja Extreme Challenge boasts 2,900 participants (Chillicothegazette.com)
Thousands of people descended on Pricer Ridge Road in South Salem on Saturday… While everyone came clean — or most of them, anyway — the 2,900 participants in the first Mud Ninja Extreme Challenge soon were coated from head to toe with victory mud. The mud showed they had run the 5K race and conquered, at least sometimes, the 21 obstacles thrown in their path. There were waterways to wade through, ropes to swing on, muddy sponges to dodge and steep, muddy hills to climb before making it to the end to clean off either in a pond or by water spray set up at the side of a local volunteer fire truck.

Participants: Mud Wars event poorly planned (Chicago Tribune)
A run on a muddy obstacle course that attracted thousands to Chicago’s Northerly Island on Saturday left many asking for a refund. “I think it really could have been a great thing,” said Ashley Murray, who attended the Mud Wars event. But “it was just poorly planned and even more poorly executed.” The hours-long lines, subpar obstacles and little direction at the 5-kilometer run left her and her three friends disappointed, Murray said. The run, which was advertised to include nine “exhilarating” obstacles, three mud pits and live entertainment, cost between $45 and $75 per person, according to its Facebook page…Complaints poured into Groupon and Living Social on Monday, prompting both daily deals sites to offer refunds to customers who registered for the event.

Obstacle Race Training Essentials (Outsideonline.com)
Races like the Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash are exploding in popularity. We asked two of the sport’s top athletes about the gear that helps them get onto the podium. Get tips on race meals, clothing, shoes, etc.

Get Down & Dirty at Pretty Muddy, a Women-Only Obstacle Mud Run (Dietsinreview.com)
Fun and unique races are popping up everywhere it seems. Ways to get covered in color, glow-in-the-dark, or find your inner warrior have all been pretty popular additions to the running scene this year. Just when you think they’ve thought of it all, a new race with appeal unlike any other shows up. Pretty Muddy is a new race just for the ladies… no boys allowed! Pretty Muddy is a 5k adventure obstacle course race. As you can probably gather, it’s also pretty muddy. The whole concept is focused on women being able spend free time out of their daily grind in an unforgettable way. The race was created by two men who watched their wives balance so much between work, family, and responsibilities and realized they needed more outlets for carefree time in their lives.

Thunder Challenge Tests Grit of Coloradans; Raises Money for Returning Soldiers (KDVR.com)
Navy seal training is back-breaking, heart-pounding, sweat-pouring work. But some brave Coloradans just got the chance to train like the military’s elite, while raising money for soldiers who are coming back from the battlefield…And speaking of trying, that’s easier said than done on this course. For more than six miles and 20 + obstacles, they’re trying to see if they can do what Navy Seals do. Seeing if they’ve got what it takes to overcome the obstacles.

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