The obstacle race boom has made its way to the U.S., and with it, more events than you could ever enter. Needless to say, not all obstacle races are equal. There are now DIY events run by nobodies with land and some construction know-how, big-time pretenders out to make a buck. The real-deal events have it all: a challenging course, a fun after-party, and participants that make the just-right atmosphere. Here are seven of the best, plus how they stand out. Launch Gallery >>
Distance: 3.2–5 miles (Sprint), 8 miles (Super), 12 miles (Beast)
Obstacles: 15 (Sprint), 20 (Super), 25 (Beast)
Difficulty: "We designed our sprint to be as hard as the regular Tough Mudder," says Joseph Desena, founder of Spartan Race. Unlike TM, Spartan is a competitive, timed race with lots of fast climbing, heavy objects, and consequences – such as getting clobbered (see left).
The Vibe: There's camaraderie at the finish, but don't come for the party. Desena hopes Spartan will one day be an Olympic event (it's a varsity sport in 66 high schools), and the competitors take it seriously.
Cost: $60–$205; spartanrace.com
Credit: Nuvision Action Image