Now Reading
Get your Balls to the Wall in the world’s toughest challenge

Get your Balls to the Wall in the world’s toughest challenge

In less than a month, I’ll be doing what will quite possibly be the most physically challenging endeavor of my life: I’ll be participating in the 2014 Tough Mudder in West London.

I’m not fearful of the pools of ice, scaling slippery walls, or charging into arenas with low-voltage cables that work like cattle prods pushing people on to the next obstacle.

I’m not worried about the mystery obstacle, or the dubiously named Balls to the Wall, Hangin’ Tough or Just The Tip courses.

I am scared of running behind a group of guys wearing the infamous Borat man-kini.

Should I be scared of the Tough Mudder? My co-workers keep asking me if I’ll be ready in time, casting glances to my biceps and quads as if to say: ‘You’ll never make it.’

I go to the gym (I use the term loosely) often enough, though the last time I tried to run fast on a treadmill I nearly broke my foot.

Rather than showing off my physicality (or lack thereof) I’m quite excited about the prospect of running around with other adults getting muddy and scaling walls. It sounds like something the majority of us haven’t done for at least two decades.

Before you become skeptical or cynical about whether or not you’d survive this now worldwide phenomenon, I suggest you sign up now and ask questions later.

Regarded as ‘the toughest event on the planet’, the Tough Mudder has grown from a US-based sporting event to over one million participants throwing themselves into events across three continents. The course itself is usually 10 to 12 miles long, with 20 obstacles courses throughout that vary per landscape.

This month’s Tough Mudder obstacles in West London include the hilariously-named:

  • Cage crawl
  • Dong dangler
  • Electroshock therapy
  • Boa constrictor
  • Arctic enema

What I like most about the Tough Mudder is that this isn’t necessarily a chance to shame others as they literally eat your dirt, but it’s more a team-building and mentally challenging exercise. The course is designed for you to overcome your demons about what your body can endure.

Don’t be fooled. Even the fittest of athletes might find this challenging, as every obstacle is designed to test every level of your fitness, from muscle strength to cardio endurance. But to push you along are volunteers and fellow participants who encourage, push and lift you out of despair. The Tough Mudder website offers a few fitness guides that, based on your current level of athleticism, suggest a workout plan for how to best prepare yourself.

If that’s not enough to encourage you to sign in, perhaps the après-mud that awaits you at the finish line will convince you there’s a light at the end of the muddy tunnel.

Here are some tips I’ve been told about for before, during and after the Tough Mudder (assuming I survive):

  • Before: work it out! Try some of the boot camp exercise to give your body a taste of the tests you’re to endure
  • During: don’t complain! Leave no mudderling behind, and be sure to hit up the hydration stations.
  • After: You’ll apparently want to throw away your clothes and shoes after the Tough Mudder, so take a change of clothes. And enjoy your complimentary pint at the end of the challenge. Go on to brag to your friends and see who you can convince to join in with you at the next event.