Tough Mudder’s brand is built on overcoming fears (read about that here Tough Mudder, Fear of…) and challenging yourself. They popularized things like 24 hour Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) and truly unique obstacle innovation. Despite their reputation for mud, one of the things that they have always been known for is their inclusion of live electricity into some of their obstacles. While there has been multiple variations including Electric Eel (low crawling through water with live wires), Operation (just like the children’s game but larger with live electricity) and Entrapment (low crawling with live wires above you) to name a few, none are as popular as their original ElectroShock Therapy (EST). EST is a rectangular frame with wires dangling down requiring Mudders to run, walk or crawl through to reach the far side.
If you know the Legionnaires (athletes who have done multiple Tough Mudders), you may know that they like to push themselves. Sometimes it’s about running faster, sometimes running longer but the one thing in common is they like to overcome challenges. If you are looking for a next level challenge that requires a good helping of Sean Corvelle’s favorite breakfast food, Mental Grits, then you are going to want to continue reading. If your level of adventure and excitement is outpacing Tough Mudder’s electricity obstacle innovation give one of these a try:
-The Iron Cross: Extend both arms nice and wide and walk forward. No running, no pulling your arms in, just take every hit of electricity until you reach the far side. If you need an example, feel free to follow Kevin Chow through (who I feel needs some sort of electricity-related nickname).
-The Blackhawk aka The Spinning Iron Cross: Extend both arms like the Iron Cross but as you walk forward. Mike Wacker made this move popular and took the Iron Cross to dizzying new heights.
-The Beer 20m or Beer EST: Grab a beer and start at the beginning of EST. Walk forward and finish the beer before reaching the far side. You can stop mid-EST in a safe space to take controlled drinks or if you are feeling bold, continue at a slow walk. If you are lucky, your beer might be free and handed to you by the new CEO of Tough Mudder as I saw at the recent Tough Mudder LA. One beer not enough? Maybe you can finish a pitcher like Kevin Chow and Grant Polson.
–Dancing: If you have a signature or favorite dance move, now is the time to do it. Walk in, get on top of those hay bales and shake what your momma gave you. Whether do the Carlton, the running man, the worm or something else, I guarantee EST emcee Clinton Jackson will surely have some choice comments on your performance.
–Legionnaire Status Upgrade aka Crowning: You can get your 2x, 10x, 50x or whatever status you earned headband at the finish line or you can make it memorable. The tricky part about this one is it requires two people with questionable judgment; One to enter EST with your headband with you following them taking a knee and getting your upgrade surrounded by live electricity wires.
–Blindfolded: If the above is still not hardcore enough, add in a blindfold. The Spinning Iron Cross blindfolded, started by Erik Jens, is a disorienting shockingly “good time”.
Regardless of what method you choose, you can be sure Tough Mudder’s Clinton Jackson will be there to motivate you, make you laugh and most of all comment on your performance. If you don’t have anywhere to go post-race, grab a beer and sit down by EST. You might see some of these as well as things like Jon Copper walking through playing the bagpipes, Cody Brown enjoying some birthday cake mid-obstacle, athletes riding piggyback through the obstacle and maybe even an EST proposal. The show is worth the wait not only to see some of the above but seeing people overcome their fears, accomplish what they thought was impossible and the occasional face plant.
Not a fan of electricity? That’s okay, I’m sure you can find a Legionnaire to play rock/paper/scissors with while standing in Arctic Enema (Tough Mudder’s ice bath). Loser stays in, winner gets out as your team/group enters one by one. Not a fan of that either? Check out Mud Run Guide’s Ultimate OCR Bucket List, a comprehensive list of the challenges and races you need to do. Now available for order.
Special thanks to Kevin Chow, Mathieu Lo and Mike Wacker for their input into this article. Want to see a video of some of these great moments? Join the World’s Toughest Mudder Community and check out the thread by Mathieu Lo from October 14, 2016.