Feedback, January 2013


As Scott Keneally reported in "Playing Dirty" (November), nearly 1.5 million people participated in an obstacle race in 2012, and the sport's popularity has inspired some pretty cutthroat business tactics among its Big Three: Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash. "I'm not bothered by the competitive spirit that would naturally be associated with the promotion of these events," wrote Douglas Young, or Portales, New Mexico. "But I am troubled by the juvenile behavior reflected in that promotion. The shenanigans cited in Keneally's article took me back to junior high." Karen Latchford, from Palo Alto, California, wrote, "It was an in-depth, very well written article about some poeple I found pretty repulsive." On Twitter, PatsHoppedUp wrote, "And here I thought people who humblebragged about obstacle races were the worst. Turns out it's the creators." Others found parallels between those business tactics and the ethos embodied by the races. "I have to give credit to Tough Mudder founder Will Dean," wrote Frank Shipley. "Dean brought muddy obstacle courses to the backyards of millions. I get the feeling his drive is fueled by the same desire as those of us who sign up for his events: the desire to challenge yourself." Still others simply acknowledged the allure of this new brand of suffering. "These races seem much more interesting than running 26.2 miles," Wes Hall posted on Facebook. "With the cubicle life most people lead, I completely understand why they want a little adventure."

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