These Pharmacy Students are Tough Mudders

Thursday, April 24, 2014

If you’re an active runner, chances are you’ve heard about the explosion of “fun runs” that have swept across the nation. Heck, if you have a Facebook account you’ve probably seen pictures all over your newsfeed of your friends participating in these events.

These runs come in all shapes and sizes—people dress up as zombies, get splattered with colored chalk and even adorn themselves with glowing accessories for night runs. Yes, fun runs are the latest craze, but some of them seem to be less about the “fun” and more about the “challenge.”

A couple weeks ago, some pharmacy school classmates and I participated in the annual “Tough Mudder,” held in Diablo Canyon. Tough Mudder is more than a simple race. Participants run more than 10 miles conquering muddy obstacles. They face challenging wall climbs, tubs of freezing ice water, insanely steep hillsides and, of course, the electroshock. That last one wasn’t a joke—people run through dangling electrical wires and try not to get shocked, which results in muscle paralysis.

Some get through the course without falling, but most people end up eating a face full of mud along the course.

As hard as it sounds, this race was the most fun I’ve had in a while. In fact, there are a wide variety of other “tough” races out there as well. The Spartan Race has participants complete actual challenges like spear throwing, boulder carrying and rope climbing. A shorter, more condensed alternative is the Warrior Dash. It’s only 3-4 miles but with 12 extreme obstacles crammed in.

I plan to check out the “Run for Your Lives” Race, in which zombies chase you throughout the obstacles. You’re given a belt of flags, and if the zombies “eat” all of them, you’re out!

These are just a few of the many tough runs out there. Perhaps one of the best aspects of these events is that they often support charities.  In particular, Tough Mudder has raised more than $6 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, a program that supports the transition of injured soldiers returning home from military conflicts. There’s nothing like the satisfaction you gain from knowing your sweat raised money for a good cause!

After experiencing Tough Mudder, I am inspired to do more of these crazy challenges. It’s quite daunting at first, but I wouldn’t be surprised if more people catch the bug after completing their first race. Hopefully I’ll see you in the muddy trenches!