Friday, April 25, 2014

9 Mudless Obstacle Races

Obstacle races are the latest and greatest craze these days. There are mainstream national events that almost everyone has heard of such as the Tough Mudder, the Spartan Series, and Rugged Maniac. There are women only mud runs and new start up mud runs that seem to pop up every other month. 

But let’s face it, sometimes you just want to test your abilities and not ruin your clothes and shoes in the process. Sure, you could skip obstacle races all together and keep doing road races chasing that PR. But, since we can’t PR at every race, why not have some fun and try one of these mudless events?

  Spartan Stadium Series

Spartan Stadium series photo, curtesy of Spartan website

As one of the top races in the sport, I’m sure everyone has heard of the Spartan Series by now. But, did you know they have a mud-free option? 

Called the stadium sprints, these races are 3 to 4 miles, with many of the same obstacles as the regular spartan sprints, sans the mud. Although the distance is beginner friendly, I would rate the obstacles as difficult, with burpee penalties for not being able to complete them.

There are 3 upcoming stadium events left in the 2014 season:

Citizen’s Bank Park (Philly) -  September 20th 2014, Link: HERE 

Miller Park (Wisconsin) - November 1st 2014, LINK: HERE

Fenway Park (Boston)- November 15th 2014 LINK:  HERE

Unfortunately, the Citibank event in New York has already past, so we won’t be able to participate in the Stadium series this year. However, we do plan on doing the Super Spartan in Vernon New Jersey in September!

ROC race 

ROC race wrecking ball
The wrecking ball, the highlight of the ROC Race

Ever seen the TV game show Wipeout? This 5k obstacle race is similar to the TV series, and was the first game show inspired race of its kind. With obstacles like the wrecking ball, the sweeper, and the gorilla bars, this untimed race is more about fun than anything else and is beginner friendly, but some of the obstacles will test your agility. You won’t get muddy but there is some water at this event. This is a nationwide event so check the website listings for a location near you!
Brian and I participated in this last year along with Larissa from  and had a great time; you can read about our experience HERE 

Hit and Run 5k

Bouncy bridge obstacle, courtesy of Hit and Run 5k

This untimed race popped up about a year after the ROC race went national and is slowly gaining popularity. With only 6 obstacles, mostly inflatable, listed on their website, I would rate this as easy and for beginners, and also something to bring the whole family to, as they have parent/kid waves for children as young as 10. There also seems to be the possibility to stay dry, provided you clear the Duck or Dive obstacle, which looks extremely similar to the ROC race Wrecking ball. Although this event is national, they have stuck to middle America and Florida to date, so we have not yet had the opportunity to test it out.

Epic Fail Challenge

Photo Courtesy of Epic Fail Challenge

This untimed 5k is the new kid of the block, with the inaugural event taking place at the Aviator center in New York on May 3rd. While this is the only scheduled race on their website, they do have a location tab, and they indicate that they intend to take the series national. It seems similar to both the ROC race and the Hit and Run 5k, but has the addition of some more challenging obstacles such as “Swing or Swim,” where you cross a pool of water while swinging on multiple ropes. It also has innovative fun obstacles, such as foam pits. Sadly, it looks like we will be unable to make the race date, so we have to hope it’s a success so we can try it at a later date!


Photo courtesy of Fitathlon Challenge

As a new concept in the sport, the Fitathlon deems itself a true fitness test, with obstacles geared specifically to test one of four areas of fitness: speed and agility, strength, endurance, and balance. There are about 15-20 obstacles and there is a choice between a 5k or 10k distance. This series also differentiates from the group by making participants register in the level they want to race at: newbie, beginner, challenger, competitor, super competitor. The series is currently centered around the east coast, and we are hoping to participate in one of the upcoming events.

Insane Inflatable Race

Photo courtesy of Insane Inflatable 5k

By now, you can probably tell that it seems the obstacle race mudless community thinks inflatable obstacles are the way to go. This 5k race takes that idea to the extreme, with every single obstacle being inflatable, designed by the company themselves. The inaugural event just took place in El Paso Texas and they have events taking place in various states throughout the rest of the year. This 5k clearly is for beginners and more about fun that a challenge, but since we will try anything once, we are planning to give it a go this summer!

 Great Inflatable Race

Photo Courtesy of Great Inflatable race, family oriented fun run

The inflatable craze continues with yet another untimed approximate 5k run that is more geared towards family fun that the races previously mentioned. While there is no mud at this race, you will unfortunately get dirty on the 100 ft Jello inflatable slide. The next event is set to occur in Salt Lake City on May 31st 2014, following by events in Seattle and Fresno in June and September. Fun runs don’t get more beginner friendly than this, so if your just starting out on your fitness journey and live in one of the cities this event is being held, this race is for you!

Alpha Warrior

Photo Courtesy of Alpha Warrior

Ever watched American Ninja warrior and thought, I can do that?  Well, this event is your chance to try it out something extremely similar! It is run by Brent Steffensen, a multi-time top performing American Ninja Warrior contestant, and is based on the slogan “No mud, no miles, no mercy.” This course has over 30 obstacles, with no running breaks in between, and requires pure upper body strength combined with agility and stamina to complete. As a fan of ANW, I was excited to hear about this up and coming obstacle course and waited for the 2014 event schedule to be announced. Sadly, the 2014 event page has been “coming soon” for 5 months, and since we are almost mid way through the year, I am afraid this event may already be defunct. Let’s hope they get it together soon as this is an innovative event that we would love to try!

Xtreme Obstacle Challenge

Photo Courtesy of Xtreme Obstacle Challenge facebook page

Starting as a local Florida obstacle race, Xtreme Obstacle challenge is taking their tour national with events coming to Iowa and Wisconsin later in the year. This 3 mile race has some unique obstacles such as the Dizzy Lizzy, and a few that seem similar to the Alpha Warrior level of difficulty. They also have a morning competitive  wave, so based on that I would rate the difficulty as moderate as compared to others. Although the website doesn't appear to be completely up to date, they have a facebook page with all necessary information.

Clearly, most of the current mudless events cater more towards fun and less towards a challenge. For now, if we want to experience some of the better obstacles, we still need to get dirty. However, we hope to see new events appear in the future that are a combination of a mudless run with some more challenging and innovative obstacles to keep us on our toes!

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