The fastest-growing outdoor sports movement in the world is also the dirtiest.
Obstacle course races, adventure dashes, and mud runs represent the ultra-popular trend in participatory events, boasting significant growth since 2006 when an estimated 725,000 people dashed through hell and ice water in search of a new and fun way to be active. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, that number ballooned to more than 2 million in 2013, and it’s expected to rise again this year with more races and more events to choose from.
The allure of negotiating obstacles and elements straight out of basic training has become attractive for the challenge and unique experience the events offer. For a fee, participants can get a taste of personal satisfaction, team-building camaraderie, and, of course, a mouthful of mud.
“It’s hard to juggle everything and stay fit,” says Mudderella CEO Cristina DeVito. “Getting in shape can be a solitary event and a lot of women crave something that is more social. Mudderella marries the two—fitness and spending time with your girlfriends.”
But while these events are fun and invigorating, they also require a bit of stamina and strength, so you’ll want to prepare before participating in one.
Mudderella, like many other obstacle race franchises, has grown to include eight events in the United States and Europe, which is on the smaller end of the spectrum when compared to industry giants like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash, which each host hundreds of races around the globe each year. Tough Mudder, viewed as the gold standard in the mud run business for its popularity and difficulty, boasts a grueling 13-mile course and more than 1 million participants since its inception in 2010.
With the market literally and figuratively saturated with these events, there is more variety than ever. No matter what your physical ability or threshold for getting dirty is, from zombie runs to tutu marathons to hardcore tests of endurance, there is a race out there for you. Mudderella is unique in that it’s designed by women and preaches a mission statement to “Own Your Strong.”
“It’s about empowering women to take pride in their strength—both inside and out,” DeVito says. “Women are strong in so many different ways. It’s about knowing what being strong means to you and owning it—defining it and being proud of that strength.”
And getting filthy, too.
Race Day Tips
1. Get a good night’s rest. You will need your energy.
2. Follow a healthy diet during your training.
3. Be well hydrated—you will not have anything with you during the race but mud.
4. Don’t worry about sprinting out of the gate. The race begins in waves of many people at a time; therefore, you will have a chance to start slow and warm up as people begin to spread out.
5. Have fun. When the race starts, your adrenaline will take care of the rest.