In December, Obstacle Racing magazine, the first publication dedicated to the industry, launched its first issue online. Its first print edition will come out this spring. People just want to get off the couch; theyve sat on it for too long, said Editor-in-Chief Matt B. Davis.
And unlike most participant sports, many of the obstacle events charge spectator fees because they are so fun to watch.
Websites have sprouted up to keep track of the muddy world. Paul Buijs, a graduate of Florida Atlantic University, started www.mudandadventure.com. I have a day job and had to take vacation to add all of the new events to get caught up, he said.
His site now lists 693 upcoming mud runs or obstacle races in the United States and around the world.
With the market becoming saturated fast, newcomers are looking for a niche. In co-founder Ryan Hogans Run for Your Lives, participants can hang with the dead. People dressed as zombies try to grab three flags off belts of participants as they run the muddy obstacle course. The race, originally developed to raise money for Hogans clothing line, War Wear, became unexpectedly popular.
If you survive with at least one flag, youre not infected and survive the apocalypse, said Lauren Gambler, customer service manager with the Baltimore-based Reed Street Productions, which runs the races.
This year there will be 22 zombie events around the country, including one in Hialeah in April at Amelia Earhart Park. It has become a popular place to hold mud runs. Theyll let you do almost anything if you return the park to the way it was, Griffiths of Mud Mingle and The Challenge said. Im going to be digging 10-foot pits and making quicksand with oatmeal like they do in Hollywood movies.
Mud run participants must purchase special insurance. At Tough Mudder, medical personnel monitor the event in golf carts. Weve never had any deaths or major injuries, but we have had hundreds of cuts and scrapes and sprained ankles, said Matt Johnson, chief marketing officer for Tough Mudder. We take safety seriously, while still developing a ridiculously badass obstacle course.
One of its signature obstacles is the Electroshock Therapy. While 10,000 volts sounds like a lot, the average police Taser puts out 50,000 volts.
Daniel Diaz, a cameraman for the Miami Univision station WLTV-23, dressed as Captain America for the Superhero Scramble and did the Spartan Race last weekend: You push your limits and see what strength, will and determination can do to keep you going and get you to the finish.
Diaz was gearing up for Saturdays Tough Mudder, as well including the electric shock part.
I watched the YouTube videos and the only thing I see as torture is the electric shock, Diaz said. I saw someone take off their Camelbak [water holder] and use it as a shield from the shocks. I thought, Hmmm, do I want to cheat like that? Im thinking about it.
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