MELBOURNE -- This weekend, 21,000 Australians will be tested by Tough Mudder, a grueling obstacle course designed by British Special Forces.
"Internationally, there's a perception that Australians consider themselves to be a nation of athletic and resilient men and women," Tough Mudder Chief Executive Officer Will Dean said. “Tough Mudder is unlike anything you've ever seen before, and we're expecting Aussies to put their money where their mouth is."
Australian participants will be challenged both physically and mentally as they scale 3m-high oiled walls, jump into freezing ice-baths, crawl through muddy trenches, run through fire, negotiate pits of stinging nettles and get shocked by 10,000 volts of electricity.
The obstacles are all but impossible to complete individually, and the vast majority of participants register as a team. As an un-timed event, the focus is on teamwork rather than competition.
"Tough Mudder is about camaraderie, getting back to nature, not taking yourself too seriously and having a good time," Tough Mudder spokesperson Alex Patterson said. "On an individual level it’s about challenging yourself both mentally and physically and on a social level it’s about working together to make it through adversity."
“The plan actually didn’t win the competition because his professors said an un-timed event would never work,” Patterson said, ”but Will was keen on bringing the concept to life and brought his lifelong friend Guy Livingston on board as the Chief Operating Officer."
The first event was held on Sunday, May 2, 2010, at Bear Creek Mountain Resort near Philadelphia. With just $8,000 worth of Facebook advertising, Tough Mudder sold out all 4,500 spaces in a record 35 days.
Generally participants are diverse in profession, 76% are male, with an average age of 29. To date, 78% of participants cross the finish line taking approximately 2.5 hours to complete the course.
“Many U.S. Marines say it is one of the toughest courses they have seen. We think that it’s definitely comparable to the world’s toughest training programs, but it’s better to think about Tough Mudder as a team challenge rather than a training program,” Patterson said.