For those tired of the monotony of marathons and triathlons, obstacle course runs – often filled with mud, fire and a cold cup of beer at the end – are the adventure seeker’s antidote to boredom. But as these races grow in popularity, they are leaving a trail of serious injuries in their wake.
With rise of extreme races, fun comes with risk
Death and injuries at events like Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash lead to lawsuits
By Carrie Wells, Pamela Wood | Baltimore Sun
May 25, 2013
Mud pits, electric wires, climbing walls and a long-distance run — for most participants, outdoor obstacle races offer a chance to overcome physical challenges and bond with friends, often in a rowdy atmosphere.
But even as these adrenaline-fueled races have exploded in popularity in a recent years, creating an industry with tens of millions of dollars in revenue, some racers have paid a high price.
The April drowning of an Ellicott City man at a Tough Mudder series race in West Virginia was at least the fourth death involving participants at Tough Mudder and other extreme obstacle course events around the country since 2011. And across the nation, participants have been paralyzed, suffered hypothermia and electric shocks, or come away with other serious injuries.
In 2011, for example, two men died after a Warrior Dash event in the Kansas City area; it was canceled after many participants were treated for heat-related illnesses, according to a report in the Kansas City Star. Last year, a Dallas man drowned while swimming across a river in the Original Mud Run in Fort Worth; a lawsuit is pending in that incident.