From weekend warriors to competitive athletes, that’s what thousands around the world are asking as they prepare to take on what has been dubbed “the toughest event on the planet.”
And where are they finding answers? The Internet.
Tough Mudders and Mudder wannabees are reaching out in droves to connect with each other via social media to share training tips and stories of the mud, shock, chills and spills that are all part of the military-style obstacle course that offers events year round in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.
It’s not a competition, it’s about team and team starts from the moment you visit the Tough Mudder website (www.toughmudder.com). The website welcomes you with photos and videos of men and women enduring all that the event has to offer. And to top it off, the grimaces and smiles benefit a good cause – the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization committed to supporting the needs of severely injured service men and women. To date, the Tough Mudder event series has raised more than $1.2 million and counting.
Event organizers are social media savvy. Not only do they encourage fans to follow event news and highlights on Facebook and Twitter, they also created the website and social media properties as a community hub for all things Tough Mudder. Got a video? Upload it. Uncover a new training technique? Post it. Want to get in on the action? Comment on the Live Tough blog – nearly 700,000 fans are reading it.
More than 6,600 people follow the Tough Mudder Twitter feed and the YouTube channel has fielded nearly 550,000 views. On Facebook, 700,000 fans “like” Tough Mudder, and Tough Mudder enlisted and finisher badges on Facebook are becoming a mark of distinction – not just anyone can get one.
It gets addictive. We all like to push ourselves to the limit, and the Tough Mudder provides a turnkey way to keep race day enthusiasm going for the days, weeks and months leading up to and after the big event.
I should know. For the past few months, I’ve experienced the collective fervor firsthand as my husband and his Spider Monkey teammates prepared for Tough Mudder Beaver Creek (note: not sure why they were spiders or monkeys). Their early morning workouts hauling rocks up Chautauqua in Boulder, Colo., were chronicled online and group proclamations about kicking some Tough Mudder butt were tagged with the #ToughMudder hashtag on Twitter for all the world to read.
They got some responses, “rocks…cool,” but more importantly, they tapped into the broader Tough Mudder community, which gave them the extra inspiration to push for the finish line.
Yes, Ironman is grueling and triathletes have been online for years, but the Tough Mudder is taking endurance events to a new level and using social media to reinforce its purpose of encouraging teams of people to get out together and push themselves for a cause.
And the crazy thing is that the spectators are just as nuts about the event as the participants. Nearly 2,000 fans cheered on more than 6,000 participants in Beaver Creek last Saturday. My cowbell announced my arrival at each obstacle as I scampered from one vantage point to the next just in time to snap pictures and post online updates. Family and friends kept tabs on the race from afar and all in all it was a great event – one that I will remember and share with Tough Mudders and Mudder fans for years to come.
Congrats to GFM friends Roger Greene, Jimmy Reilly & Luis Benitez for conquering the Tough Mudder!