The Warrior Dash describes itself as "a mud-crawling, fire-leaping, extreme run from hell". All Warriors get a Warrior Dash medal as well as a horned helmet so you're apt to see a lot of muddy vikings running across approximately 3k of rugged terrain with about a dozen obstacle courses along the way at Warrior Dash.
The Ironman Triathlon is a series of races that consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile marathon run in that order with no breaks in between. The race must be completed within 17 hours and there are strict cut off times for each event. The idea for Ironman came about in Hawaii in 1977 when there was a debate among participants of the Mid-Pacific Road Runners and the Waikiki Swim Club about which athletes were more fit -- runners, swimmers or cyclists. To settle the debate, a U.S. Navy Commander suggested combining all three sports as there were already existing long-distance competitions on the island -- the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, the Around-Oahu Bike Race, and the Honolulu Marathon.
These days, the Ironman Triathlon holds this racing series in various cities around the world. However, only the best of the best who have persevered through qualifying events are allowed to participate at the revered annual Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii.
Tough Guy is an annual UK race that was first started in 1986 by Billy Wilson, usually taking place on a farm in Perton, Staffordshire, near Wolverhampton, England, every January in near freezing conditions. Despite this race taking place annually for the past 20+ years, Wilson says that there has yet to be any participant who finished according to his extremely demanding rules. The course is between seven to eight miles long and obstacles include crawling through a flooded 40 foot tunnel, balancing on planks on top of a fire pit, and a half mile wade through chest-deep muddy water.
With such extreme challenges, there have been two fatalities during the history of the competition. In 2009 alone, it was reported that one participant suffered a broken neck, that there were dozens of broken and dislocated bones, and that approximately 600 participants suffered hypothermia, including the winner.
Tough Mudder bills itself as "probably the toughest one day event on the planet". They also raise money for The Wounded Warrior Project. Designed by two Englishmen, the obstacle courses were designed by the British Special Forces themselves. Obstacle courses are anywhere between seven to twelve miles and include obstacles such as Firewalker -- a run through flaming bales of hay, Electroshock Therapy -- a run through live electric wire, and Funky Monkey -- a swing across (occasionally greased) monkey bars over ice cold water.
Tough Mudder emphasizes that they are less of a race and more of an event that is a personal challenge that also builds camaraderie among teammates. The event is not timed and the goal is to simply finish, which 20% of participants do not. ...However, for those who have highly competitive spirits, there's World's Toughest Mudders, which the top 5% of all Tough Mudder participants are eligible to participate in. The 24 hour, 50 mile event is self-described as "a challenge designed with only one goal in mind, to find the toughest man and woman on the planet".
Spliced up into four levels -- Spartan Sprint, Super Spartan, The Spartan Beast and The Death Race, participants are challenged not only physically, but mentally as well. The first three are anywhere between 3-12 miles long with 10+ obstacle courses depending on the level chosen. Obstacle courses may involve the elements of fire, mud and water with some barbed wire thrown in and as described on their website, "occasionally Hell on Earth" as well.
However, Spartan Sprint, Super Spartan, and The Spartan Beast are all walks in the park compared to the most hardcore level of the Spartan Race -- The Death Race. To give you an idea of what The Death Race is like, it is described by The New York Times as "Survivor mixed with Jackass". Spartan Race says that 90% of participants do not finish this 48 hour endurance race and to only "consider this adventure style race if you have lived a full life to date". You have been warned.
When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more