What Keeps You Running?

Shortly before my son relocated 3000 miles from home, he ran a “Tough Mudder” in New Jersey. He and his closest childhood friend worked out together, in anticipation of both the challenge course and the impending move that would separate them.

Anyone’s who’ve ever participated in one of these events can attest to the outrageous obstacles and incredible fun. It’s all about teamwork. Rather than a timed race, the 10- to 12-mile course encourages participants to help each other through obstacles with names like:

“Arctic Enema,” a vast pool of ice water to be waded through;
“Funky Monkey,” overhead bars with – of course – mud beneath;
“Cage Crawl,” chain link fencing laid low horizontally over a muddy pit, requiring participants basically to backstroke through the obstacle; and
“Electric Shock Therapy,” electrified hanging wire tendrils that zap runners making their way through mud.

There are many more obstacles, requiring running, climbing, crawling, jumping — and lots and lots of mud.

Sore muscles and exhaustion merge with exhilaration and camaraderie at the finish.

A few months after moving from Connecticut to Southern California, my son ran a “Mud Run” held on the U.S. Marine base at Camp Pendleton. While miles away and very different from the New Jersey event, this challenge evoked the same camaraderie and self-determination… with a brand-new set of friends.

Sporting events are like that. They bring people together, providing a common purpose and a shared experience. Take marathons, for example. While essentially solitary endeavors, there is a shared spirit among runners, and teams often compete for a cause.

Wherever you are around the world, events like these let you continue your passion for physical challenge. They also help you meet like-minded people and stretch your endurance limits. Of course, sometimes they are just fun to attend as a spectator.

And, if you are looking for a Tough Mudder near you, events are held year-round throughout North America, as well as in Australia, the UK, Ireland, and Germany. Click here for locations and dates.

Happy trails!

Living Abroad’s International Relocation Center destination reports discuss local clubs, organizations, sports and fitness to help newcomers acclimate to life abroad.

Written by Ellen Harris, GMS, Living Abroad-International Product Director