How do you make US$70 million in two years? Simple, you convince people to run 20km through messy, painful, awful obstacles. And then you charge them a hefty entry fee for the privilege of putting their minds and bodies through hell. It doesn’t exactly sound like a fool-proof business model, but surprisingly, it works. In 2010, Will Dean had an idea to create an endurance challenge that included military-style obstacles. He advertised the event – Tough Mudder – with a US$20 ad on Facebook. It was a huge hit, and today Tough Mudder events are held throughout the world. In 2012, the company was valued at US$70 million.
So what is the appeal? Escapism, I think. It provides a break from normal life, allowing you to live the life of an action hero for a couple of hours. And let’s be honest, a lot of people do it simply to be able to say that they’ve done it. The organisers are aware of this, which is why you’ll be photographed more often than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on holiday. It’s about the pictures and the war stories. You’ll leave the event with a stack of photos of yourself in full superhero mode – covered in mud, and, if you’re lucky, bleeding from the head.
Tough Mudder is now also coming to South Africa. There are no official dates in SA yet, but you can pre-register for an event in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. They are presumably trying to gauge demand, so be sure to go and register. To see what you’ll be letting yourself in for, have a look below.
But you don’t need to wait for Tough Mudder – awesome obstacle events are already being held in SA in the form of the Warrior Races. Check out the video below, and then go and give it a try. If you want to prepare for your first obstacle race, here are some useful tips.
You can also visit the Warrior Race website here.