Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mud Race Comparison

Comparing two things is always a challenge. There are always going to be differences both large and small. This is even more so true trying to compare two races. However, In the past 2 weeks I ran both the Spartan Race and the Tough Mudder. The course was at the same place at the same time of the year. I figure what better time to compare these two races.

Course Layout
Super Spartan: The course layout for the Super Spartan involved a lot of hills. In the end, it felt like we were running uphill both ways. Or walking in the case of most of us. This was definitely a challenge. There were 3 first aid/water stations. located all pretty equidistant along the course.

Tough Mudder: The course for the Tough Mudder started and ended in the same hills as the Spartan race. In between, we switched to another area which had more flat running ground as opposed to hills. Made the running a little easier despite being 2 miles longer than the Spartan. There were numerous aid stations which had water as well as bananas as well as some protein bars and power gels. These were a very nice surprise.

Super Spartan: The obstacles for the Super Spartan were unknown to us till we came up to them on the this presented a unique challenge in that you had to be prepared for anything. The Spartan obstacles appeared to test both functional strength and some agility.

Tough Mudder: The Tough Mudder had a much wider variety of obstacles. They had everything from barbed wire mud crawl to jumping in to ice water and getting shocked. When asked by friends and colleagues, I used the word "torturous" really for lack of a better word. The Tough Mudder obstacles were not dependent upon your strength so much as your will power to complete the course.

Super Spartan: There were spectators at the start and finish for both events. For the Spartan race, this was really the only area where spectators were. This was probably due to the fact that most the obstacles were in the hills. No one wanted to hike just to watch people carry some rocks.

Tough Mudder: The Tough Mudder was much more spectator friendly. I think part of this was due to the layout of the course. We came back to the start/finish area several times. There were also markers showing the way for spectators to see certain obstacles. Much more spectator friendly. And it certainly helped to have those people cheering when you're crawling through water and electrical wires.

Post Race:
Super Spartan: Both events had a post party of sorts. If you were of legal drinking age, you earned a free beer when you finished. The Spartan was a timed race so they had computers which you could enter your name and it would give you your finishing time right then and there. There would be no waiting. There was a DJ playing some music and fire pits with fires going to warm anyone up.

Tough Mudder: The Tough Mudder was a little different. They had Bananas and protein bars to get some sustenance back in your body. They were handing out emergency foil blankets to anyone who wanted/needed them. There was a live band playing (which I personally prefer to a DJ). While there were no fire pits (even thought it was in the same place) They had plenty of large space heaters for people to gather around.

In conclusion, well there is no conclusion. Both have their pros. I had a blast running both. Since the challenges tested different things, they were both a fun experience. I highly recommend doing either for anyone who wants to feel a sense of accomplishment because I assure anyone, that accomplished is what you will feel when you cross that finish line.

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