1. You’re not a Whiner or a Whimp, and You Stick to the Pledge
“You have to have a positive attitude and be able to smile in the midst of adversity,” said Alex Patterson, Tough Mudder’s chief marketing officer. Before every event, all Tough Mudders raise their right hand and repeat together: “As a Tough Mudder I pledge that…I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge. I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time. I do not whine—kids whine. I help my fellow Mudders complete the course. I overcome all fears.” The last of which, is crucial when you’re so tired, and moving forward seems impossible. “It’s the essence of being a Tough Mudder,” said Patterson.
2. You Can Run 3-5 Miles
Ok, let’s be real: you need a basic level of fitness to do a mud run. But that’s about it. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, and no worries if you’ve never run 10 miles straight in your life. Tough Mudder does offer a boot camp, but if you can run 3-5 miles without stopping you’re in fine shape. “We make every single Tough Mudder a real challenge,” said Patterson. “If it’s a flat course we try to add more obstacles that will gas you.” The trick, Patterson said, is selecting a Tough Mudder that gives first-timers at least two-three months to train. “And then, it’s simple,” he said. “Train. Come out and do it.”
3. Your Competitive Edge takes a Backseat to Your Team Spirit
It’s good to have a competitive edge, but Tough Mudder teammates come first. “Physical and mental grit are important, but you also need to have good, trustworthy teammates,” said Patterson. “Many of the obstacles cannot be completed alone.” You must shelve the urge to push ahead and make sure no teammate is left behind, much in the military mindset. Teams come in all sizes (no cap on members), and a 75/25 male to female ratio, which is balancing out over time. “We’ve had whole law firms, entire military units, couples, and even one cyberspace team of hundreds that met for New Jersey’s 2011 Tough Mudder wearing green armbands,” said Patterson. “We’ve seen it all.”
4. You Can Bust Down Mental Blocks
While basic physical fitness is essential, it’s not the most crucial. Mental toughness prevails. “We see all types of participants,” said Patterson. “People who you see before the event and you don’t expect them to complete it, but because of mental grit, they do. And vice versa—big guys, people who you’d think would complete it, lack the mindset and don’t finish.”