The course designers over at Tough Mudder have come up with a new way to challenge participants who sign up for their events in 2015. Multiple sources including Sports Illustrated Online and DNAinfo.com are reporting that tear gas maybe be included in the arsenal of obstacles this coming year. So now those who take on a Tough Mudder event can look forward to all their old favorites, including but not limited to, Artic Enema, Electric Eel, Everest, Walk the Plank, Electroshock Therapy, and now Cry Baby (name pending). According to reports, Cry Baby, will require participants to crawl through a tent filled with tear gas. This announcement will surely bring out arguments for and against the type of obstacles that Tough Mudder uses.
The use of electricity and ice has been a staple of Tough Mudder since the beginning. So the question is have they gone too far with the addition of an obstacle utilizing tear gas. One of the main criticisms of Tough Mudder is that some of their obstacles focus less on physical strength and require racers to conjure up mental grit. No amount of time in the gym can prepare you for the run through electric wires. The number of burpees you can do flawlessly will have no bearing on your performance in a dumpster full of ice. The size of your biceps will not be a deciding factor in whether or not you are able to make it the distance when only your head is barely above the water in cage crawl. These type of challenges are about overcoming mental hurdles. Some would say that they deter from the spirit of obstacle course racing. There are those that feel the point of tackling a course filled with obstacles is to challenge their bodies physically. Obviously being shocked and exposed to tear gas is more about mind over matter.
The other side of the coin is that these obstacles DO in fact present a challenge, albeit a different kind of challenge. An obstacle that makes the racer face a fear can be just as daunting as one that demands brute strength. Have you ever watched the mass of runners form just before Electroshock Therapy? There is a reason that they don’t just throw caution to the wind and bolt through the yellow wires to the glory (and the much earned beer) that awaits them at the finish line. For most there is a moment of hesitation. A moment when they realize that what lies before them is going to cause them discomfort and quite possibly some pain. The object is to put those thoughts of fear and panic aside and push through. To face (insert fear here) and overcome it. There is an incredible sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when you know that you did something that completely terrified you.
Only time will tell if the new addition will be met with enthusiasm or not. I am sure that some will write off Cry Baby as another in a long line of Tough Mudder creations that have no place on the course. Still others will be curious, or like me fascinated, at the new twist. Whatever the overall reaction is one thing is for certain, Tough Mudder keeps pushing the envelope on obstacle design.
What is your reaction to obstacles like Electroshock Therapy or the new “Cry Baby” obstacles?
Do you think they are as much of an obstacle as those like Everest?
Does this possible new obstacle change excite you or turn you away from a future Tough Mudder?