On the spontaneous 20-miler last week, chatting with Oliver who hardly trains yet is able to knock out road races once a month and also does some of the mud/adventure runs. He had done the Tough Mudder a months ago in Vermont and the way he described it to me (snow, freezing water, icy rocks, barbed wire, etc.) made me not want to do anything like that and he was definitely NOT hooked. There are so many of these non-traditional races and it’s interesting how the definition of endurance sports has expanded. You now have crazy obstacle races, plain ol’ mud runs, urban adventure races and offroad adventure races that substitute plain old running and biking for kayaking and orienteering, and challenges that just push the limits.
As part of the Tough Mudder Series, there are additional ways to add to the difficulty such as completing the 10-mile course while wearing a 20lb pack full of bricks and carrying kettlebells in your hands. Huh? The more Oliver described the GORUCK Challenge, the crazier it sounded. This was a separate challenge from GORUCK, a hi/low gear company with a line of bags directly inspired by the military (the founder is Special Forces); they host these 10-hour challenges that traverse cities through the night and involve carrying logs, carrying each other, carrying backpacks full of their own aid (hydration and nutrition) and in general, doing some ridiculous stuff. Check these two pages to the New York challenges that they did last year, one during the day and one at night; the photo above is taken from the night one. This year, the GORUCK Challenge will be coming to the city in September and I believe there are still spots open; guaranteed I won’t be taking one of them but it certainly looks intriguing.