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Extreme Obstacle Race

Are Extreme Obstacle Races Good for Your Mental Health?

“ I’m running to test my limits, NOT need to get lab tests… ”

Extreme Obstacle Race, think WARRIOR DASH, SPARTAN SPRINT, TOUGH MUDDER is the Golden Goose for paid obstacle race — Think about it,  people pay $72  – $256 (per person) to be covered in mud head to toe, then have to run in muds of all types and thickness. Contestants jump into icy pools of muddy water, need to scale high obstacle of all kind, leap over the wall after wall into the muddy pond below. Then there is the ever so fun belly crawl under barbwire. And you’re paying for the trip, as a way to experience life or to reach some higher-level existence.

People, this is paid torture! People are buying it in the droves and there is a rush on the market!!!

Getting caught up in the race fever excitement

Getting caught up in the race fever excitement can be easy. As I must admit, there are a lot of positive reinforcement tools that go into group obstacle courses.

I know I have enjoyed watching many shows that feature Spartan courses. I’ve loved the original ninja warrior and now the American version is entertaining. Something about obstacle courses that seem to get my attention. I just wish they would not use such offensive names when describing them.

Why does exercise always have to be described as something you do when you’re crazy, nuts or insane?

I wonder also how many of the Spartan obstacles races or muddy runwater obstacle courses are good for your Mental Health or Physical Health?

Well if you go to the cheapest costing mud run that is now a “crazy party” …Could this name possibly be offensive to any one?…”Rugged Maniac” family fun powered by MensHealth:

“race is all about having a good time with your friends and making your weekend fun and active.”

They build 25+:

“epic obstacles for you and your friends to play on (like fire jumps, water slides, trampolines, and underground tunnels), put them in a 3-mile course, and then throw a crazy party with plenty of beer and music!” https://ruggedmaniac.com/

Now truthfully, YES, I hate the HUGE stigma propaganda of all these types of “Extreme Obstacle Races”.  They belittle every person living with a mental disorder, and they do it to our faces. What is more, they use the greatest motivator of all… Money and crowd bullying tactics.

Truth, I would love to participate in a Rugged Maniac Extreme Obstacle Race–a family event day that I would love to try to do some day.  “If” they change their name and get rid of “Maniac.”  They do raise money for the American Cancer Society. Or allow you to choose another charity, but how many Mental Health Organizations will accept money from Rugged Maniac?

Get Some Mud Run Shoes 

There are dangers with many Extreme Obstacle Races like Spartan obstacles, or any race that needs good mud run shoes.

Do participants go to the extreme obstacle course games, most definitely. Is it unhealthy, most definitely, the races are commonly held in rural areas.  The area where there is animal grazing, “the soil could be contaminated with germs (bacteria, viruses) like E. coli, norovirus, and Campylobacter from the animal feces (poop). And, somehow, those germs can get into people’s mouths.  Warns the CDC and they share the following advice:

What can adventure race participants do to play it safe?

  • Avoid swallowing any surface water during the race. The water doesn’t have to be muddy to make you sick.
  • Wash your hands and face with soap and water immediately after completing the race, especially before eating or drinking.
  • Be considerate to other racers: Stay out of the race if you are vomiting or have diarrhea on race day.

What can organizers of adventure races do to protect racers?

  • Build muddy challenges in areas where there is not likely to be animal feces.
  • In your information for participants, include advice on how they can protect themselves and others from diarrheal illness:
    • Advise them to avoid swallowing any surface water during the race.
    • Encourage race participants to seek medical care if they develop diarrhea after the race.
    • Ask them to not participate in the event if they are vomiting or have diarrhea on race day.
  • Provide facilities for participants to wash their hands and face after the race. Adventure Races https://www.cdc.gov/features/adventure-racing/index.html

The following is more eye-opening dangers from Shape:

6 Scary Mud Run Dangers to Watch Out For

22 participants at a Tough Mudder race in Nevada contracted Campylobacter coli (C. coli), a bacteria that causes severe diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping that can last up to a week

Just last month in France, more than 1,000 people came down with symptoms of norovirus, including diarrhea, vomiting, and fever, shortly after a mud run event.

Flesh-eating bacteria

Broken neck
People have been paralyzed and killed after breaking their neck during mud runs. In 2013, a man lost his life during a West Virgina race after jumping 15 feet into freezing, muddy water. 

This bacteria is found in animal urine and can survive in water and soil for weeks or even months, according to the CDC. 

“A lot of people sign up for mud runs because it seems like fun, but then they get to the course and discover how challenging it is,” Dr. Patel says. If you haven’t been exercising regularly and exhaust yourself on one of these courses, you could set yourself up for a dangerous condition called rhabdomyolosis. “Rhabdomyolosis occurs when you get traumatic breakdown of your muscles at the cellular level,” Dr. Patel says.  3 Exercises to Help Train for a Mud Run.)


 mud runs near me


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Are Extreme Obstacle Races Good for Your Mental Health?

Chato Stewart

Chato Stewart has a mission, to draw and use humor as a positive tool to live, to cope with the debilitating effects symptoms of mental illness. Chato Stewart is a Mental Health Hero and Advocate. Recovery Peer Specialist board-certified in Florida. Chato is the artist behind the cartoons series Mental Health Humor, Over-Medicated, and The Family Stew - seen here in his blog posts. The cartoons are drawn from his personal experience of living with bipolar disorder (and other labels). [email protected]

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2017). Are Extreme Obstacle Races Good for Your Mental Health?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 23, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/humor/2017/08/are-extreme-obstacle-races-good-for-your-mental-health/


Last updated: 14 Aug 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Aug 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.