Friday Five: Supporting a Tough Mudder

On Monday I shared the story of Darin’s first time doing a Tough Mudder challenge and I promised I’d share things you need to know/do if you’re ever a Tough Mudder spectator.

Spectator tickets cost $40 (or $20 if you sign up online) and allow you to walk the entire course, take photos, etc. I had a lot of fun watching the pre-event festivities as the emcee (who was fantastic, by the way) hyped everyone up. The music was great and there seemed to be some sort of entertainment at HQ during the entire event. It is definitely not a boring event!

If you plan on going to a Tough Mudder (or to any running event, really) to cheer someone on, make sure you bring:

  1. Your ID and cash. Because you have to pay to spectate, you also have to check in just like the participants. Make sure you have a photo ID for this. Cash is also a good idea because you or your runner will likely need/want something to eat/drink and there are souvenirs, too. There were ATMs, but only one of the two we had was actually operating. You may also have to pay for parking, so keep that in mind too (I can’t remember if we did or not).
  2. Appropriate clothing for the weather and conditions. Darin’s was in November in Indiana and we knew it’d be cold and windy, so I wore jeans, rain boots (which Darin said was ridiculous, but ended up being a terrific call since I got muddy too), a long-sleeved shirt, undershirt, hoodie and probably a pea coat over that. Once I hiked awhile I started to get hot, so I went to the truck to shed the pea coat. Also, even if you’re not a participant, bring extra clothes. My pants and boots were muddy, so while Darin was showering I changed into yoga pants and tennis shoes to be comfortable on the ride back to Tennessee.
  3. A backpack and something to keep you entertained as well as necessities the participant may need. I carried a backpack that held my DSLR, Darin’s insulin and needles, glucose tablets, candy, a magazine, a book, headphones for my iPhone, etc. I didn’t want to be bored, but thankfully I wasn’t. The backpack was actually really helpful when I was walking with Darin; after he came through a pit filled with 8 inches of mud and slid into tubes of mud (and back out), he threw his mud-covered beanie at me and I clipped it, as well as anything else he tossed my way, to the bag. Also, if he needed insulin or glucose, I had it, and I had water for myself.
  4. A camera! If you can physically handle walking/hiking part of the way with the group, do it. Take as many photos as you can! Even my photo-hating husband liked having a bunch of photos (we printed them all out before we even picked the kids up).
  5. Towels and treats. After the run they gave out wraps that look like tin foil, but towels would probably be warmer and would help clean the mud and water away. After the Attica event, there was a campground that was allowing participants use of the shower and so towels, shampoo and soap would be great. (I think Darin left his shoes there because they were too nasty; I’ve seen this at both mud runs I’ve been to and, of course, these people brought an extra pair.) I also had one of Darin’s favorite treats in the backpack and gave it to him afterward, plus I bought food while he was standing around the fire pit; runners need recovery and he’s allergic to (or doesn’t like) the things that were offered (he couldn’t eat the energy/granola bars because they contained nuts and he doesn’t like bananas). That was important, especially considering it was meal time when he finished.


BONUS FIVE: Want to know what not to bring/do?

I would not recommend bringing children if you plan to walk around the course (and you know I like to encourage parents and children to do activities together). I did see children there, but I was happy that we didn’t bring ours because I didn’t have to drag them around the course, take them to the bathroom in port-a-potties, feed them expensive food, make sure they didn’t get too muddy, referee fights, tell them a thousand times that Daddy would be done whenever he was done, etc. Also, the main sponsor is Dos Equis, so if you’re not okay with adults drinking around your children they should stay home (also, it’s not at all quiet and, because it involves a lot of military members, plenty of four-letter words).

I would not bring anything that could get lost, stolen or damaged. I carried my iPhone so I could tweet/update Facebook as well as my DSLR to take photos, but I wouldn’t bring laptops, iPads, etc. unless you plan to stay at HQ the entire time.

I would not wear anything that has to stay clean. It’s just not a clean atmosphere being a mud run and all (and by dirty I’m referring to the mud; the site was relatively clean and litter-free).

Keep your anti-war, anti-military sentiments at home or in your back pocket. This is an event that benefits wounded warriors and being disrespectful towards the military is probably a guaranteed way to get beat up or, at the very least, dirty looks. (Also, WHY would you be anti-military?)

Don’t put your participant down. For any reason! It’s a tough challenge and … well, you and I didn’t do it, so we have no reason to be Monday morning quarterbacks, I mean mudders.

Your turn: Are you good in a supportive role? What are your tips for cheering on your runners?

(This and other entries about Tough Mudder are not affiliated with the event or its sponsors. Neither my husband nor I were paid or perked in any way, it was just a great event that we wanted to share.)