Our Top 5 Mud Runs

Muddy Run

Obstacle courses have been compulsory military training for hundreds of years, but everyday people need never climb through a muddy tunnel or haul themselves over a 10 foot wall.

That is until the explosion of UK obstacle events, over the last few years, for the general public. Getting electrocuted, exhausted and caked in mud with your friends and work colleagues is now a popular activity with thousands of Britain’s signing up to events every year.

So with this in mind, and following on from our top 10 events to do before you die article, we thought we would put together a list of the top five “mud” runs which we would say are worth the entry fee (and the laundry bill!) so in no particular order here is the list:

1. Tough Mudder

Location: All around the UK

Website: www.toughmudder.co.uk

What do you have to do?

Probably the most popular of all the events in our list, Tough Mudder only started in 2010 (2012 in the UK), but since then it has rapidly become one of the most talked about events amongst runners and non-runners alike. Why? Partly down to some good marketing, but also down to the sheer awesomeness of the obstacles and the atmosphere at the events.

Think 10ft walls; muddy monkey bars smeared in butter; crawling through narrow pipes full of mud, ice cold water, high voltage electrodes all finished off with a pint of cider and the coveted orange Tough Mudder headband.

Mud Points 4/5

2. Tough Guy

Location: At Tough Guy HQ, Wolverhampton, WV6 7HB

Website: www.toughguy.co.uk

What do you have to do?

Arguably the original and many say still the best; the Tough Guy started in 1987 and has been breaking people ever since. There are a few variants of the Tough Guy; including a marathon, half marathon and even a kids version; but the original is 15KM with approximately 200 obstacles! You’ll need real mental and physical endurance to survive this one and a taste for the cold! There have been two fatalities since it began and you do have to sign a death waiver! Still keen?

Mud Points 5/5  

3. The Spartan

Location: 13 Countries around the world – Including several in the UK

Website: uk.spartanrace.com

What do you have to do?

They refer to it as the world’s leading obstacle racing series and it’s no wonder when you find out the number of events that are hosted by Spartan every year. There is even a global leaderboard and world championship! The Spartan race is definitely the most competitive of all the top five mud runs; as you would expect there are the usual obstacles and lots of mud.  

There are over three different distances to choose from: you can compete in either the sprint (5+ KM – 15 obstacles), the super (13+ KM – 21 obstacles) or the beast (20+ KM – 26 obstacles). Alexandra Sports’ top tip: there is certainly more of a focus on strength with these races, therefore, do plenty of pull ups in preparation. For more training advice, check out our blog, packed with advice from the adverts.

Mud Points 4/5

4. X Runner

Location: Derbyshire, Nottingham, Midlands.

Website: xrunner.co.uk/mud-run-events/

What do you have to do?

It’s ran over either a 5K or 10K distance, usually in a 2 x 5K lap format. This means if you’re unable to cope after 5K you can head off for an early bath, although about 80% of entrants do the full 10K. You can expect to encounter mud, water, tunnels, monkey bars, fire, giant walls, cargo nets, balance beams, hurdles and more. It’s a good starting point for those new to obstacle events as it’s less competitive, but still very exciting and as they say “muddy good fun!”.

Mud Points 3/5

 5. Back to the Trenches

Muddy runners

Location: Surrey & Wales.


What do you have to do?

If you like a military theme, then this may be the ideal event for you. There is a choice of events including 5K, 6K, 10K, 12K and 18K distances. With the promise of a plethora of natural obstacles, such as muddy hills, mudslides, deep lakes, muddy bogs as well as some manmade obstacles; this event will certainly leave you exhausted and covered in mud. The pricing isn’t too expensive either, so if you can’t afford one of the more well-known events, then this could be ideal.

For instance, the 2014 season pass allowed you to do all four events at a very reasonable £130; which is what some other events cost for just one event!

Mud Points 3/5   

While you may well get caked in mud, make sure you’re kitted out for the occasion. Our top tip for men is the Men’s 2XU compression, clothing which will protect your from friction and also make you more powerful by helping to maintain blood-flow to your muscles. This combined with the technical running trousers will ensure you’re ready to go.

Any female mud runners out there need to ensure they’ve got a well-fitted and comfortable Sports Bra.

Now what are you waiting for? Time to get muddy.



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Ryan has worked in the sports industry since 1999 and has a wealth of experience across most subjects. Ryan holds a BSc in microbiology and has studied sports physiology in great detail in his own time. His main areas of specialisation are: footwear construction, footwear technology, strength & conditioning and anatomy & physiology. He splits his 13 hours a week exercise between, Kickboxing, MMA, Crossfit, Rock Climbing and Running.