If you’re preparing for your first Tough Mudder 5K obstacle course event, one of your most pressing questions might be, “Just how long will this thing take?”
That depends on a lot of things, of course. For starters, you’ll need to consider your level of fitness, as well as that of your teammates. Have you run a 5K before? Are you in good shape? Have you been training? (If the answer to that last one is no, check out our training guide.)
But when you’re thinking about time, it’s important to keep in mind what Tough Mudder 5K is—and what it isn’t. Tough Mudder 5K mixes 3.1 miles of running with 10 awesome obstacles to create a challenging, one-of-a-kind event. It’s not a timed race. In fact, the average finish time is 1-1.5 hours. (That’s about triple the time of a regular road 5K. According to the 2017 Running in the USA Road Race Trends report, the median road 5K time in 2015 was 29:43 for men and 36:15 for women.) So why does a Tough Mudder 5K take so much longer?
TOUGH MUDDER 5K: TEAM RUNNING
Many Tough Mudder 5K obstacles require teamwork in order to complete. For example, the Hero Carry calls for you to carry a fellow Mudder a specific distance during the race. During Everest, Mudders must help each other up a tall inverted half pipe wall—because it’s pretty much impossible to get up alone.
Another reason Tough Mudder 5K takes longer is the running terrain. While typical road 5Ks take place on pavement, a Tough Mudder 5K is often on rocky, grassy trails, complete with hills and mud.
NO MORE EXCUSES
Even if you’ve never run a regular 5K before, chances are you’re hearing about them more and more, because 5Ks are becoming increasingly popular. The Running in the USA Road Race Trends report shows that there were 17,000 5K events in 2016, accounting for 56% of all road races in the U.S.—a 3% increase since 2015.
Frankly, a 5K just feels more accessible for many people. If you’re not the strongest runner, a Tough Mudder 5K lets you break up the distance with fun and challenging obstacles and plenty of support from your teammates and other Mudder athletes. And even if you are a seasoned runner, there’s good reason for distance runners to try a Tough Mudder 5K. Plus, since it’s not timed, there’s no pressure on you or your teammates, and there’s beer and swag at the finish.
Remember, Tough Mudder 5K isn’t about your finish time; it’s just about finishing and having fun.