The biggest fad going among middle-aged white weekend warriors is obstacle runs. If “60 Minutes” did a piece on them, you know they’ve been a thing for a little while. Rest assured, the craze has spread through many a home when family members wear nothing but North Face apparel.
Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash are among the best known of the dozens of iterations of this idea working to separate mildly ambitious Type A people from their money. To be honest, I have no quarrel with the concept or even the races themselves. I did a zombie-themed obstacle race about a year and a half ago. It was fine. I dare say it was actually pretty fun.
But ooooooooh boy, a lot of people who are into these things are the absolute worst. Doing an obstacle run is not an accomplishment. It’s just some stupid thing you did with a couple thousand other half-assed physically fit white people. I’ve listened to folks gush that they PUSHED THEMSELVES TO THEIR PHYSICAL LIMIT and FORCED THEMSELVES TO DO THINGS THE BODY ISN’T SUPPOSED TO to complete these runs. Motherfucker, you ran through a trail that was kind of muddy, you trudged through some waist-high water and you climbed a rope wall. You didn’t scale Everest. You’d probably expend more energy playing a soccer game.
Because it’s the new hotness, it gives an excuse for obnoxious trendy fit people to turn their noses down on other forms of exercise. I had a bro tell me he couldn’t run conventional road races anymore because “it’s just not the same without an element of danger.” Look, you don’t have to conflate your thrill-seeking and your exercise. And if you must, you can be a little more daring than the goddamn Tough Mudder. AHHHHH OH NOES I GOTSTA CLIMB SOME OVER HAYSTACKS. TELL MY WIFE AND KIDS I LOVE THEM! Can you get hurt doing these things? Sure, most obstacle courses have hills with poor footing, which can and will inevitably lead to people falling and perhaps breaking bones. It doesn’t happen that often, but it happens.
You know what most entrants do when they get to the perilous points of these courses? They slow the fuck down. And they can afford to do that because most obstacle races are not timed. So you aren’t really racing anything. You are just trying to complete a course in enough time that the volunteers don’t force you off because they’re leaving. It’s the Disneyland of extreme sports.
Like I said, I don’t necessarily hate these races, just a large portion of the people who do them. But a shitload of people do do them. So if we band together and drown the irritating ones in the water obstacles, we’ll be better off. No worries, they signed the waiver.