Q&A With Tough Mudder Co-Founder Will Dean

Tough Mudder events have obstacles to challenge everyone

If you're getting bored with the same old endurance events, it might be time to test your toughness at a Tough Mudder. Dubbed "the toughest one day event on the planet," Tough Mudder is a new series of endurance events that tests your physical and mental stamina like never before. From fire runs to mud crawls and everything in between, the unique experience will push your limits and expand what you think is possible.

Company director Will Dean, who previously worked in counter-terrorism for the British government, was completing his MBA at Harvard when he first thought about creating the Tough Mudder series. Nearly two years later, the idea is a reality that has thousands of participants ready to take on a new challenge.

Dean took time out to talk to Active.com about the series, the challenges and why you should give Tough Mudder a try.

More: Spice Up Your Training at a Muddy Buddy Race

Q: So you wanted to change up the racing scene and give participants and athletes something new and different. Did you just wake up one morning and think up Tough Mudder? How did the idea come about?

I've done a bunch of marathons and triathlons and what I found was everyone seemed to enjoy that point at mile 20 when you're absolutely exhausted and some person comes up to you and says "C'mon, we can do this together." There's a great sense of camaraderie there, and I wondered if I could build something where that happens every five to10 minutes.

The other thing I found after running a marathon or doing a triathlon was people always asking me, "What was your time?" No one really asked anything else. So I really wanted to make something that wasn't just about personal achievement or your time, but about setting a bunch of different challenges. It's about testing people in a bunch of different ways all in one day. Some of the challenges should be physical, some should be mental, but there should be a variety.

I wanted to make something that was fun. I wanted to make something where people could laugh at them and put the fun back into doing these things.

More: 6 Tips to Train for an Obstacle race

Q: How did you decide on the locations and why did you decide to launch the event here in the U.S.?

One of the things we saw about the U.S. is that people take fitness very seriously in the U.S. There's been the rise of CrossFit and people getting into phenomenal shape. I also saw that Americans, probably more than Europeans in general, really enjoy that sense of camaraderie and working together. I think it's just a cultural difference. But I thought this would work well in the States.

We like to say the event is "Ironman meets Burning Man." We wanted this to be a weekend with your friends so we want to draw people out of the city. But we also knew we couldn't make people drive 15 hours to get there. We were looking for venues within a two-hour drive of major cities in the north east. Cities that came to mind right away were New York and Philly and Boston. That was kind of what was driving our decision.

About the Author

Discuss This Article

Follow your passions

Connect with ACTIVE.COM