You may have recently heard people talk about the mud runs and obstacle course races in which they have participated. Then, you may have been left scratching your head thinking, “They are the same thing, right?” Well, yes and no. Both of these events will have you crawling, climbing, jumping and possibly facing a few fears along the way. Both will have you covering a distance of anywhere from a 5K to a marathon or more on trails or other natural terrain. However, there are a few characteristics that make a mud run and obstacle course race different.
3 Ways To Know You Are At A Mud Run
1. The event is untimed. Mud Runs are mostly non-competitive events. There may be a clock running, but no prizes are given to the fastest runners. Mud Runs are a great introduction for those worried about competition—it’s a non-stressful way to be introduced to this world.
2. Costumes are encouraged. Mud Runs often feature costume awards at the end of the race and encourage their participants to come as their favorite character, zombie, etc. If you see teams of people all dressed in matching costumes, chances are you are at a Mud Run.
3. Team-based obstacles. Mud Runs have been known to place obstacles in the course that require the assistance of other participants. The most famous of these is “Everest” at Tough Mudder. Everest looks like a skateboard quarter pipe. For the majority of participants, it requires help from another participant to get over the edge. Climbing the ten-foot wall is another typical team obstacle.
3 Ways To Know You Are At An Obstacle Course Race (OCR)
1. You’ll have a timing chip. The number one way to know you are at an obstacle course race is you are handed a timing chip at packet pick-up. Your finishing time is recorded, and results are posted after the event. Both Reebok Spartan Race and Superhero Scramble both have points systems this year to rank their participants.
2. There’s an elite heat. Obstacle Course Racing normally sets aside one or two heats a day that are competitive, and those heats’ participants race for prizes and, sometimes, money. It is not mandatory for an obstacle course race to have a competitive heat, but if you go to register for a race and see it as an option, you know you are signing up for a race.
3. There are penalties. Most races have penalties for missed obstacles. If you try an obstacle and fail, you could be penalized with a workout, time or something else before continuing on with the race. These penalties vary by race organizer and normally will be listed on a race’s website.
Overall, whether you have a preference for Mud Runs or Obstacle Course Races, you will enjoy your experience. The important part is to know what type of event you are headed to before you show up on race day. There is nothing worse than thinking you are headed to Mud Run for a little fun with friends only to find you have actually signed up for a competitive race. That’s all the dirt for now. Next week, we talk all about burpees—an exercise you will need to master!
Image 1 by: Margaret Schlachter
Image 2 by: Margaret Schlachter
Image 3 by: Glynnis Jones / Shutterstock.com
Image 4 by: Glynnis Jones / Shutterstock.com
Image 5 by: txking / Shutterstock.com